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Security Requirements For Your Wooden Doors

wooden front door

Recently I have attended quite a few residential properties as a locksmith which still have wooden doors on them, as opposed to upvc or composite ones. A common theme with many of them is the lack of or inadequate security measures in place. Not only does this make you more vulnerable to a break in but it may also mean that your insurance company may not pay out in the event of a burglary. Many customers are surprised and shocked at how quickly and easily a locksmith is able to gain entry to their home when they are locked out particularly when only a ‘Yale’ type lock is installed.

The following is a typical set of requirements that a home insurance company may request in order for your home to be covered. It is important to note that some higher level policies may require extra measures but for standard home insurance the following is usually the rule. It is always advised to check your policy documents thoroughly.

  • A discount is usually allowed if your home is protected to the required standard
  • Your property may not be covered unless the required security measures are operational whilst the property is left un attended.

FINAL EXIT DOOR

  • Must be fitted with a mortice deadlock/sash-lock with at least 5 levers or is fitted with a lock conforming to BS3621 1998 or higher (see end of article for examples)

FRENCH OR DOUBLE DOORS

  • Must be fitted with 2 key operated security bolts/rack bolts at the top and the bottom of the final closing door and if the door is not rebated i.e one door must close before the other, this must be done to both doors.
  • The bolts must be fitted vertically so as to enter the top and the bottom of the door frame.

TYPES OF LOCK EXPLAINED

Mortice locks and night latches are the two main type of lock that you will need to be concerned about on your single door final exit. These two locks are commonly refered to as Chubb locks and Yale locks respectively although these are actually just brand names.

A lock conforming to BS3621 will have the ‘Kitemark’ logo stamped on to the lock or packaging

BS3621 lock

2 Types of Mortice Lock are available and acceptable if conforming to BS3621

  • Mortice Sash Lock. This type of mortice lock will have a bolt and a latch and will be operated with a lever type door handle.
  • Mortice Dead Lock. Similar to a Sash Lock but with just a bolt and no lever handles required.

Night latches or ‘Yale’ type locks are also acceptable but again only if conforming to BS3621. It is important to note that many night latches are available but only a small amount are British Standard so make sure it shows the kite mark logo.

Bolts for French or Double Doors

  • Surface mounted bolt
Surface Mounted Multi Purpose Bolt
  • Rack Bolt

It Is important to remember that these bolts should be fitted with the bolt going into the frame.

Although standard requirements for most insurance companies please always remember to check your individual policy documents

A History of Locks

early lock

From the very beginning of modern civilization, we as humans have always had the need to keep possessions and things we hold to value safe, therefore for just as long we have been developing ways in which to keep these items safe. In the earliest of days this was done by intricately tying ropes into knots to keep things hidden away and safe. But as the time went on new technologies were developed, true locks made from wood and metal started being used across the world.

The earliest known lock and key device was discovered in the ruins of Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria. Locks such as this were later developed into the Egyptian wooden pin lock, which consisted of a bolt, door fixture or attachment, and key. When the key was inserted, pins within the fixture were lifted out of drilled holes within the bolt, allowing it to move. When the key was removed, the pins fell part-way into the bolt, preventing movement.

History of mechanical locks started over 6 thousand years ago in Ancient Egypt, where locksmith first managed to create simple but effective pin tumbler lock that was made entirely from wood. It consisted of the wooden post that was affixed to the door, and a horizontal bolt that slid into the post. This bolt had set of openings which were filled with pins. Specially designed large and heavy wooden key was shaped like modern toothbrush with pegs that corresponded to the holes and pins in the lock. This key could be inserted into opening and lifted, which would move the pins and allow security bolt to be moved.

early lock

It wasn’t until the Roman Empire that locks really began to shine. Building on Greek designs for locks the Romans introduced metal to lock construction making them far stronger and able to protect valuables. The Romans were also able to shrink locks and keys making the key far easier to keep close. Many wealthy Romans use to wear keys as jewellery as a sign of their affluence. During this time wards were also developed, ensuring that only correct key with correct shape of projections can push corresponding pins before lock could rotate and throw the bolt.

After the fall of the Roman empire the development of locks seemingly ground to a holt, there just wasn’t the funds or technology available for advancement. 

It was in 1778 when the next advancements in locksmithing came about. Robert Barron, with the help of technological advancements managed to design and create the first double acting tumbler lever lock.His double acting lever lock required the lever to be lifted to a certain height by having a slot cut in the lever, so lifting the lever too far was as bad as not lifting the lever far enough, the principles behind this lock still remain today. In 1784 this lock was improved on by Joseph Bramah from Barnsley who designed a lock that remained unpickable for 67 years.

1818 saw the emergence of Jerimiah Chubb who designed the Chubb detector lock. A Chubb detector lock was a type of lever lock that contained a re locker, which would jam the lock up if unauthorised attempts to gain access were made. Only inserting the original key would re set the lock. Chubb still remains a household name today.

chubb detector lock
Chubb Detector Lock

The final notable advancement in locking technology came with Linus Yale in1848 who developed the first pin tumbler lock.This lock design used pins of varying lengths to prevent the lock from opening without the correct key. His son then slightly built on this  inventing and patenting a smaller flat key with serrated edges as well as pins of varying lengths within the lock itself, this design remains the basic principle for pin tumbler locks today.  

yale lock
Yale Pin Tumbler Lock

Today, majority of world’s locks are based on the inventions of these engineers, with only a small portion using advanced techniques such as magnetic keys and anti-pick technology included in the pins or levers of locks.

A Not So Romantic History of Love Locks

A love lock or love padlock is a padlock that couples in love, most traditional lock to a bridge, as a declaration of their love. Typically the locks are engraved with the initials of the lovers, the lock is then attached to the railings of the chosen bridge and the key thrown in to the water below to symbolize unbreakable love.

Since the 2000s, love locks have been a prominent feature at many bridges worldwide the most famous is a bridge in Paris, The Pond des Arts, but more about that later.

bridge showing love locks

So where did this seemingly ultimate gesture of romance come come from and is all as it seems?

The history of Love Locks dates back to a small town in Serbia over 100 years ago.

It was1914 and Europe was on the verge of war. In the small town Of Vrnjacka Banja there lived a boy named Relja. Relja was on officer in the Serbian army and was facing imminent deployment to fight on the front lines of WW1. Like so many others Relja was young and in love. He had recently fallen for a local school misstress named Nada and the couple were inseperable and soon became engaged. However the course of true love never did run smooth. On the 28th July 1914, one month to the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot dead by a Serbian national, Austria declared war on Serbia. Relja was forced to say goodbye to his betrothed and sent to defend his country.

Nada was heartbroken, but she believed in her heart of hearts that Relja would survive the war and they could continue from where they left off.

This is however where this tale of true love in the face of adversity comes to abrupt and not so romantic end. Relja went to war in Greece, where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu, swiftly breaking of his engagement to Nada never to return to Serbia. Nada was heartbroken, and she fell into a grief that she never recovered from. The schoolmistress died young and alone, of a broken heart, another tragic ending to a story of young love

Word soon spread of the betrayal and the other girls in town were understandably perturbed by this turn of events, and they quickly moved to ensure their own romantic futures. The women of Vrnjačka Banja went into a panicked frenzy buying padlock after padlock, quickly writing their names and those of their betrothed on the locks before attaching them to the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet. The keys were hurled into the river, ensuring a life of fidelity.

The story of Nada and Relja was largely forgotten until Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic brought it back to life in her poem, Molitva za ljubav (Prayer for Love). This time the story caught fire and young lovers across town started attaching padlocks to what soon became the Most Ljubavi, or ‘Bridge of Love’. Most Ljubavi is a pedestrian bridge in Vrnjacka Banja and it is known as the earliest mention of the love padlocks tradition, where padlocks are left on the bridge railing by couples as sign of their everlasting love.It is one of the famous landmarks of Vrnjačka Banja, and it is the best known among the town’s 15 bridges.

Towns all over the world started copying the tradition, but places like Paris, Barcelona and the rest would eventually be forced to cull the locks in order to preserve the bridges, starting the process all over again. South Serbia is a land of superstition, however, and the locks have never been removed from the Bridge of Love. There are more than 15 bridges in Vrnjačka Banja, but you can’t mistake the one that has captured the hearts of men and women across the globe.

locks been removed from bridge

In 2015 Paris city officials started to remove padlocks symbolically fastened to one of the French capital’s main bridges by loved-up couples. Fastening love locks on to the Pont des Arts before throwing the key into the River Seine beneath had become a massive tourist tradition in recent years. However these bridges were not designed to take the weight of so many locks. The fastening of love locks had become such a trend that close to 1 million locks weighing in at 45 tonnes had been attached to the bridge and it had started to collapse in parts. The Pont de l’Archeveche, near the Notre Dame cathedral, is also having locks removed from its side.

Coronavirus Burglary Prevention Advice For Businesses

coronavirus virus

With so many businesses been closed due to Coronavirus over the past few week, there has been a rise in the amount of reported commercial burglaries.

Here are a few tips on how you can minimise the risk to your business.

  • Make sure that you have working CCTV cameras installed and that they are well positioned. CHECK that they are working correctly.
  • Any safes on site should have there codes changed .
  • Any entrances and exits to your premises should be protected with security grilles, shutters, bars and good high security locks.
  • Any roof openings and skylights should be protected and alarmed.
  • All entrances and both front and rear should be well lit and internal security lighting should be in place.
  • Check around the perimeter of your premises and remove any items that could be used to force entry to your building.
  • Any cash should be moved from the premises and where possible all stock of value.
  • Leave any tills/ cash registers that are visible open and empty.

For any help, advice or assistance after a break in call us on 07577138335 or visit us here.

Security for your Air BnB

showing the air bob logo

Top tips for your AirBnB home security

AirBnB is an ever increasing and popular way to rent out property for personal and investment reasons alike. However, with these short term rentals comes more opportunity for break ins, lost keys and general security issues due to the high turnover of guests. However, there are ways to ensure that your AirBnB home security is the best it can be, yet easy and convenient to access for your guests.

showing the airBnB logo

Key Safe

Key safes are a popular way to give guests access to the home without having to find a time to exchange keys. If there are multiple guests staying at the same property, the key safe allows them to come and go as they please without having to worry about being locked out.

Police approved key safe

Smart Locks

Smart locks are great way to offer keyless entry to your AirBnB property. Virtual keys can be issued for different guests and no key returns or pickups will be required.

Restricted key systems for AirBnB home security

A restricted key system ensures that all keys given to guests cannot be duplicated. The locks with these kind of keys will come with a code that is required in order to get a key copied or a signed document. Many high security cylinder locks now come with this feature. This is important to keep in mind. If prior guests have access to the property it may put future guests in danger.

Lock away valuables

Property owners may wish to stay in their AirBnB at certain times of the year. In this case, it’s advised that any personal items left at the property are securely locked in a store room, spare bedroom, or garage store room. This will ensure they’re not damaged or stolen but still at the property for convenience.

AirBnB Insurance

Ensure your home is correctly insured for short term rentals. This will make sure you are effectively covered, not only for damages but for loss of rent for last minute cancellations or if a guest is injured in your home.

Smart Security Alarm System

Consider installing a smart security alarm system. This means that you’ll have the ability to control your home security system remotely and be notified when the alarm is activated and even add additional video feed cameras 

YALE SMART HOME ALARM SYSTEM

Precision Locksmiths

If you’re interested in finding out more information on how you can secure your AirBnb, please feel free to give us a call on 07577138335. We offer free on-site quotations and all our locksmiths are fully trained and professional.

We also offer an emergency locksmith service, so if you find yourself or your guests locked out, our locksmiths are ready to help.

Ultion Smart Lock

Cylinder locks have come along way over recent years. With changes in break in methods, locks have had to adapt to overcome these new techniques. First and foremost the new Ultion Smart lock hasn’t compromised these advancements in lock technology as it still contains the same 3* Diamond standard lock security of a standard Ultion euro cylinder. The fact that this smart lock still contains a high security manual lock and key removes any concern you may have about what would happen if the ‘smart’ technology were to fail. The lock still features a key hole and comes with keys so in the event of any failure the door can just be manually locked and unlocked like any other door.

Installation of the smart lock is quick and easy and there should be no need for your locksmith to adapt or drill further holes into your door. This is what makes the Ultion smart so adaptable and versatile. Unlike other smart locks such as the Yale Conexis the Ultion smart will use the same fixing holes as your existing door handles and cylinder lock.

So what exactly does the Ultion smart offer? The door can be locked and unlocked using just your phone from the Danalock phone app, and combining geolocation and the bluetooth from your phone the door can be unlocked on approach, totally hands free, and then automatically lock after a chosen time meaning no more worrying about if you remembered to lock up behind you. You can even send remote guest keys via text or email which will work on a permanent or temporary basis.

Features

  • Auto-Lock
  • Twist Assist
  • Hold Back Latch
  • Ultion 3 Star Plus security
  • Digital Key Sharing
  • Phone proximity auto-unlock
  • Remote Control (via 3rd Party Hub)
  • Works with Samsung SmartThings
  • Wireless keypad compatible

There are four versions of the Ultion SMART available. The basic edition has Bluetooth only control, and is the only model available with the wireless Danapad keypad. If you want to integrate your lock into your smart home, via a system such as Smart things, there are Zigbee and Z-Wave versions available, which can also be controlled via the Danalock App and Alexa. Finally, there’s an Apple Homekit version, which can only be controlled via the Apple Home app, Siri or your Apple Watch.

Home Insurance – What You Should Know

Does Your Home Security Meet Insurance Requirements?

It may come as a surprise to learn that your home insurance may be invalid if you don’t have the correct locks fitted to your doors and windows, after all if a door can’t be opened without a key, it’s secure, right?…. Wrong. There are many types of lock and many types of security level and your insurance provider will insist that your door locks meet a certain standard and so it is important that you know the difference. 

If you don’t have the correct locks, properly fitted, you’re leaving yourself open to theft and insurance companies will see this as an open invitation to burglars and a reason why they should not be obliged to cover your losses. 

Often exceeding an insurers requirements can also mean a lower premium for you.

It pays to have the right house locks

Home insurance companies will expect a minimum level of security on what they refer to as the final exit from your property. That is the last door you must leave through to exit your property. So if you have a new porch built , for example, it is that door that will now need to meet the requirements and not what was your old front door to your home. 

So, which type of lock have you got?

It’s not always easy to tell, but your home insurance provider will need to know so that they can assess how secure your home is and whether you need to upgrade your locks. Most people will have no idea what locks they have to their home, and why would you? Here we aim to help you identify the different types of locks you need to be aware of and their most common applications.

There are four main types of lock and each is more commonly associated with either wooden, composite or Upvc doors. 

1 – Five-lever mortice lock

5 lever mortice lock in a wooden door
Mortice lock in a wooden door

Almost exclusively found on wooden doors, the British standard five-lever mortice lock is the most secure type of general house lock and is often referred to as a Chubb lock. The more levers a lock has the more difficult it is to pick.

The lock is ‘morticed’ in the door itself and the strike plate sits in the door frame. As you turn the key in the lock the bolt moves across to the frame and locks the door. The only way to open the door is with a key.

Most insurers will insist that your lock is at least 5 lever bust most require that it conforms to British Standard BS3621, which ensures it has certain security features in the mechanism such as larger bolt throw, anti drill plates and an anti pick curtain and levers. You can tell if your lock conforms by checking for the BSI Kitemark™ – usually on the face plate of the lock on the door as opposed to the frame.

2 – Multi-point locking system

a multi point lock commonly found in uPVC doors
multi point lock in Upvc door

These locks are often found in uPVC doors and composite doors. They must have at least three places in the frame that all lock at the same time and usually consist of hooks, bolts or little rollers that move up and down into keeps on the frame. The easiest way to identify a multi point lock is the action you perform when locking the door. If you need to lift the handle before turning the key you will have a multi point locking mechanism. 

The cylinder is a secondary part of a multi-point lock and can be easily replaced, this is the bit that you put your key into and controls the multi point locking mechanism.. The Master Locksmith Association recommend a 3* ‘Diamond’ approved cylinder for maximum security, for example the Brisant Ultion. This type of lock will display *** (3 Stars) and a diamond logo.

a 3 * diamond, high security anti snap cylinder lock
3* Diamond cylinder lock

3 – Rim locks or night latches

Yale PBS1

Unlike mortice locks that are morticed into the door, these locks are surface mounted on the door itself with the latch being mounted on the door frame and are almost exclusively found on wooden doors, they are often referred to as ‘Yale’ type locks. They can usually be deadlocked from the inside, but more secure versions can also be deadlocked from the outside with a key.

They are considered to be less secure than mortice locks or multi-point locks and unless they are deadlocked can be prone to ‘slipping’ ( similar to the credit card trick). Although you can get high security versions of this type of lock, such as the Yale PBS1, many insurers want you to have additional security, like a mortice lock, if this type of lock is on your front door.

Window locks

With casement and uPVC windows, you’ll probably find locks on the handles of the window or at the top and bottom of the window.

With sash windows there’s often a central locking bolt and two side bolts that allow you to open the window to let the air in, but not enough to allow a burglar to get in.

Many insurers will insist that you have key operated locks on your windows and insurance companies may not be obliged to pay out if you are found to have left windows open.

Which types of house locks are best for my home?

That depends on:

  • Where you live – house, flat/apartment, countryside, city
  • The type of door – wooden, composite or uPVC
  • The type of policy you have
  • Your insurer
  • Existing security measures

It is very important that you carefully read through your home insurance policy to find out exactly which locks are the minimum security requirements for your insurer. If you are still unsure you are more than welcome to contact Precision Locksmiths Sheffield and I would be happy to give any advice required.

Ultions Key Control

key control

So, you are wanting to upgrade your locks to 3* cylinders to combat lock snapping. Once you have the locks fitted you’re all set right? nothing more you can do to protect the security of your home now, right? Wrong!!

With the Ultion lock by Brisant you also have another layer of security featured that protects the key from compromise. Key Control. Once Precision Locksmiths Sheffield have installed your new Diamond standard cylinder locks you have the option to activate key control and all you have to do is register your Ultion online with the unique code embossed on your new key.

When your new lock has been installed by your locksmith, you will be able to register for Key Control at the same time as registering for your free 10 year £1,000 guarantee against lock snapping. All you have to do is visit the ‘register my Ultion’ website follow the instructions and input the number embossed on your new key and register it to an email address and a password. Brisant will never ask for your address, so the database doesn’t store information that could enable others to get new keys and burgle your home.

Ultion keys can’t be cut like normal keys. Locksmiths need a code to create the right key. The information needed to cut a new key is encoded on the Brisant website. To decode it, licensed Ultion Key Centres need the number embossed on the original Ultion key, and the homeowner’s password.

The homeowner gets an email to tell them that the Key Centre has been given the information to duplicate their key. So homeowners know exactly who is duplicating their key and when. Homeowners are asked to change their password every time the information has been decoded.

Changing Locks To Your Property

When and Why You Should Change The Locks To Your Property

There are a number of reasons why you should consider changing the locks on your property.

  • Just moved in to a new property
  • Lost/misplaced a key
  • Recent break in attempt
  • House mate/ex-partner moving out

It is always advisable that when you move into a new property, whether it be rented or owned that you change the locks. It is quite possible that the locks on your new property have been there for several years and there could be numerous keys out there that will operate your locks. Not to say that this will always lead to unauthorised use of your locks but countless contractors could have been in possession of keys to your property whilst it has been brought up to a standard to rent out or sell. It is also possible that old cleaners or babysitters for the old occupiers may have keys in their possession. On several occasions as a locksmith in Sheffield I have had to attend numerous properties where access has been made and the main suspect has been shady previous tenants.

If you have lost or misplaced a key it is also advisable to change your locks. Lost keys could easily fall into the hands of someone dishonest. You are especially at risk if you have lost them outside but within your property boundary, for example dropped when getting into the car on your drive. It is quite common for people to leave keys in the lock after locking up and leaving home for the day and it may surprise you to realise how many sets if these keys are no longer in the lock upon your return, resulting in a break in later down the line.

Even when keys are misplaced it would always be advisable to have your locks changed. Were they misplaced or has someone taken them temporarily to have copies made? Several brands of high security locks now offer key protection which will prohibit unauthorised keys cutting, so this issue could  be avoided in future if you upgrade your locks.

If you have had a recent break in or break in attempt the would be burglar will now know exactly what locks you have and could return with the required tools that they know will get them entry. If a burglar has unfortunately succeeded in breaking in to your home are you certain that they haven’t found and taken any spare keys to your home (possibly even ones you forgot you had). A burglar will assume you have insurance and will be expecting that everything they have previously stolen will be replaced with brand new things making it easy pickings for them to return and gain entry with a stolen key.

One of the most common reasons I get called out to change locks is breakdown of relationships. Ex partners may feel that they have a right to enter their old home but as long as you are the sole rightful owner or legal tenant of the property then this is not the case and to prevent unlawful entry and give peace of mind locks should be changed. The same issue can also arise from ex roommates.

Whatever the need or reason to change your locks at home, doing so will give you the peace of mind that you and persons authorised by you will be the only people able to access your property by way of discreet and non-destructive entry. If you feel that you should be changing your locks get in touch with Precision Locksmiths Sheffield today.

Home Insurance

Everyone wants to make sure their home is safe and secure, so it definitely pays to give plenty of thought as to whether your house locks provide adequate protection and you are covered by your insurance in the event of a burglary.

There are lots different types of house locks available, and some can help you save money on your insurance premiums.

Here, we look at the various kinds of locks on offer so that you can ensure your home is as safe as it can be when you are out and about.

There are four main types of lock available:

Five-lever mortice deadlock

A mortice deadlock is one that is recessed into the door, known as the mortice, to be cut into the door or wall into which the lock is to be fitted. The more levers a mortice lock has, the more secure it is.

As a result, insurers often insist that you must have a five-lever mortice lock conforming to BS3621 on all exit doors and key-operated locks on all ground floor and accessible windows to qualify for cover, although often the wording may vary slightly depending on the insurer. The BS3621 indicates that the lock conforms to current British Standards.

Some insurers will offer you offer you a discount of up to 5% off your home contents insurance premiums if you have this kind of lock installed. Remember however, that the locks must have been in use if you want to make a successful claim.

For example, insurers are likely to refuse to pay out if burglars break in through a window that has been left open, regardless of whether you have the correct lock in place.

It is also worth noting that some insurers have turned down claims if keys have been left in locks.

Multi-point locking system

A multi-point locking system has a minimum of three locking points that all lock simultaneously by the turn of a key.

Multi-point locks are most common on uPVC doors and composite doors and, if they are a main entrance, then for insurance purposes you will need a lock cylinder with at least five pins.

Having effective security measures in place will be a major deterrent to burglars
The Master Locksmiths Association recommends the use of SS312 Diamond approved cylinders as these have been tested fully against all known methods burglars use to disable locks and break in.

Nightlatches

Rather than being morticed into a door, a nightlatch is actually mounted onto the door.

These are much less secure than mortice locks, but can be used as an additional security measure. Double-locking nightlatches are the most secure type of nightlatch as they have a keyhole on the handle inside the door so that the latch can be deadlocked from inside.

Always look for a nightlatch which conforms to British Standards to ensure a high level of security.

Key operated window locks

Ideally you should have key-operated window locks on all downstairs windows. These are either fitted to the top or bottom of a window, or on the handle that closes the window.

Why security pays

Although installing locks can be expensive, over a long-term period you should be able to recoup some of the costs through lower insurance premiums. Remember too that having effective security measures in place will be a major deterrent to burglars, therefore making your home a safer place to live.