The key facts about masterkey systems

The key facts about masterkey systems

The more you understand about security, the more secure you, your premises, your people and your business will be. A quick look at the basics of masterkey systems will show you why they’re so popular and provide a few things to think about if you’re installing, changing or updating security.

The problem with multiple locks

Traditionally mechanical locks have two elements: a cylinder and its own specific key. In the trade, we call these Differ Keys – a good name when each key is unique. It’s a system that works well unless someone needs to access lots of places within a building. They end up carting around a hefty bunch of keys, wasting time looking for the right one.

The solution to multiple locks

No one wants to haul around all those keys. That’s why masterkey systems were developed. A single key can operate lots of different locks. The word ‘can’ is important. It depends on how the system is designed. One key could open every single gate or door on site: we’d call that the Grand Master Key. Another key might be a Sub Master Key which allows access to a range of locations. It’s a hierarchy, and at the lowest level sits a Differ Key that will open just one locked door.

Traditional masterkey systems

When they were first used masterkey systems were set up to mirror how buildings were constructed. The Grand Master Key gave access anywhere and everywhere. There would be a Sub Master Key for all the doors on each individual floor and a Differ Key for each room.

Key control systems

Traditional masterkey systems were okay – unless you were, say, a housekeeper needing to access the linen cupboard on every floor of a thirty-storey hotel. Providing someone with a masterkey for convenience may also inadvertently give them access to an area of the building that they don’t require. Now masterkey systems are more likely to be designed around functions, job roles – around the way your business works. At Access2 we call these Key Control Systems because that’s what they give you – control.

Getting it right

Masterkey systems are brilliant, but they can be complicated, especially for an organisation that is growing or changing rapidly. When a new construction project is underway, it’s important to have a clear plan of how access will be controlled. Capacity for future growth and change needs to be built into the masterkey system’s design.

The expertise

We’ve given you a quick guide to masterkey basics, but these systems are best developed and designed by those with proven expertise in the field. If you’d like to talk to us, we would be delighted to tell you more. Just get in touch.