Monday, March 5, 2018

Barricade Devices for Classrooms?????

When the shooting at Virginia Tech happened several rears ago, I was tasked with getting all of our classrooms capable of locking down.  We didn't have a lot of options like today.  We ended up putting entry function locks on the classrooms and panic hardware on the lecture halls with thumb-turns in place of keyed-cylinder dogging.  Those are still in place, and still work.

Recent events have caused a need for new forms of classroom lockdown.  Most hardware manufacturers have come up with a mechanical lock that is easy to use to lock the outside handle from the inside of the classroom without exposing the teacher to the threat in the hall.

What has me most concerned, however, is the push for BARRICADE DEVICES in the classrooms.  You can give me all kinds of reasons they are strong and won't allow someone in, but I can give you even more on how they fail to protect those who are behind them.

I understand that parents feel safer knowing that the classroom is barricaded, but what happens if you cannot get out, and the threat is in the room with you?  What if the building is set on fire, and you are trapped in a room filling with smoke?  For every argument you give me in favor, I will give you one NOT in favor.

Here are some examples pulled from the internet of some of the devices on the market.

 How easy is this to release so you can leave the room?  Can a second grader figure it out?

What happens if you can't reach the top of the door? 

Where do you keep the baton?  Could it be used for a weapon in the classroom? 

 This has to be aligned perfectly to work.  Can it get jamb'd and difficult to remove?  Remember that second grader trying to get out?

 I can easily see the receiver hole being filled with junk and this not working at all....
 How many precious seconds will this take to install on the door?

You need to hope you can reach it and have the closer on your side of the door.....remember, the Virginia Tech shooter barricaded the doors from the INSIDE!

I know there is a huge debate over what can and should be done.  But get some facts about what is available and what is legal.

Here is an excerpt from the 2018 Lifesafety 101 code, Chapter 15, Existing Educational Occupancies:   * Classroom Door Locking to Prevent Unwanted Entry.
Classroom doors shall be permitted to be locked to prevent unwanted entry provided that the locking means is approved and all of the following conditions are met:

(1)  The locking means shall be capable of  being engaged without opening the door. 
(2)  The unlocking and unlatching from the classroom side of the door can be  accomplished  without the use of a key, tool, or special knowledge or effort. 
(3) The releasing mechanism for unlocking and unlatching shall be located at a height not less than 34 in. (865 mm) and not exceeding 48 in. (1220 mm) above the finished floor.
(4)  Locks,  if  remotely  engaged,  shall  be  unlockable  from  the  classroom  side  of  the  door  without  the  use  of  a  key,   tool,  or  special  knowledge  or  effort. 
(5)  The door shall be capable of being unlocked and opened from outside the room with    the necessary key or other credential.
(6)  The locking means shall not modify the door closer, panic hardware, or fire exit hardware.(7)  Modifications to fire door  assemblies, including door hardware, shall be in accordance  with NFPA   80.
 (8)  The  emergency  action  plan,  required  by  15.7.1,  shall  address  the  use  of  the  locking  and  unlocking  means  from  within  and  outside  the  room.
(9) Staff shall be drilled in the engagement and release of the locking means, from within and outside the room, as part of the emergency egress drills required by 15.7.2.

 I put this video in to show there are other options available.  I know this product works and can be incorporated with any existing access control or mass communication system.  It is very easy, and not a Wi-Fi lock.  It uses a radio signal and is much more reliable.

There are mechanical solutions as well.  There are cylindrical and mortise locks with visual indicators that will show the person on the inside, and in some locks, the outside as well, that the door has been locked.

There are various functions of locking down a classroom in a mechanical lock.  I know of several schools that use Storeroom function locks on their classrooms.  These are in the locked position all the time.  It makes the instructor carry the key, but does have a downside.  A person can get in the room and close the door to do harm, and unless you have the key, you will not be able to get in...

Some use a Corridor Lock.  This is like a privacy in that it will unlock itself when shut if the button on the inside has been pushed.  You can, however, lock the outside handle from the inside with the simple push of the button.  For security at the end of the day, you lock the lock from the outside with a key.  To me, that is the more reasonable compromise for a mechanical lock.  However, you still have the button for someone to get behind the closed door and lock others out.

The Best option I have seen is Shelter from Best Access Solutions.  It is a classroom function lock that turns into a storeroom function lock when triggered by the system.  That system in turn also locks down others in the system without the need to visit the door and try to install a device or make sure it is locked.  It can also notify First Responders to a situation.  Get with your local Best Rep to find out how easy this is to use.

I know there are others, but we are a Best campus, and this is what I have worked with.

Look at the Trimco Lockdown Panic Button (see other blog about this device) for your large lecture and athletic areas.

Also get your administration to do a little research for the parent organizations and read some of the articles from this site:

Lock Don't Block

There are a variety of resources to use and people knowledgeable about what is legal and what is not.  Ultimately, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) is the one who must sign off on what you decide to use for security in your facility.  Make the smart choice, not the easy cheap one.  Find out from your hardware supplier or representative what is available........

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mechanical Lock-down Panic Release

It has been quite a while since I have written anything.  I have learned a lot over the last 4+ years about all kinds of hardware, both good and bad.  One of the coolest things I have had a chance to get my hands on is the Trimco LDH 100 panic bar release.  Developed right after the Virginia Tech tragedy, this item is one I was looking for to install on my classrooms and exterior doors that I had touch-pad panics on.  It is now available to the public from Trimco, a US company with a lot of great products for the Institutional Locksmith.

This device is currently able to be installed on the Von Duprin 98/99 panic device.  It is a very simple device to undog the bar with the simple push of the button on the end of the bar.  I don't know how many times I have had a request for dog wrenches, or doors not un-dogged when the building needed to be closed because no one could find a wrench.  But, I feel a lot better knowing that if there was a situation to arise, anyone could secure the room or building quickly and be behind a safe door.

Watch the video from the company on this cool device:

For those of us with other brands of panics (I personally love Precision Apex 2000 bars above all the others) this is coming for many.  See below what is coming:

The installation is very simple and straight forward.  Watch the video they have on the installation:

Designed by one of our own, an Institutional Locksmith, and made simple, yet very functional, this can solve a lot of headaches for both the locksmith and the security professional.  Call your local hardware supplier that handles Trimco and see this amazing device.  

The website for Trimco is:

(And don't forget to check out their door wraps....those are the best I have ever used)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Why did they put THAT hardware in?????

I wrote a previous blog about,  "Grade 1 vs. Grade 2, What's the Difference?"  In that blog I showed the very basics of difference according to ANSI standards.  There are many levels of quality in a lock, even though all in that catagory meet the cycle testing to make a certain grade.  Just because a lock can pass with 800,000 cycles to meet a grade does not make it comparable to a lock that can pass at 4,000,000+.  Yes, they both pass, but one is definately a higher quality, and likely more expensive, piece of hardware.

At my previous job, I would ask for a particular lock or closer, or panic and (within budgeting) get what I asked for.  However, if we had a project that was decided by an architect firm or contractor, it felt a little like a lottery as to what was installed.  This is precicely why you need a spec, and it needs to be followed.

I have seen several specs from architects (and you should know they farm this part out quite often) which are written with a specific manufacturer in mind.  A lot of state and federal requirements specify that 3 equal locks be presented for bid.  However, some in the industry can supply 3 brands that meet the requirements, but are made by the same manufacturer.  This does not make them equal.  

Even though you ask for a grade 1 lock, there are different levels of quality and price in that grade.  To compare equally, you need to compare the premium line vs. premium, and a commercial grade vs. commercial.  The same is true for closers, and panic hardware.

I have attached a chart to this blog which will help explain some of what I am saying.

As you can see, for an equal comparison of locks on a premium level, you need to use Sargent/Corbin Ruswin vs. Stanley Best vs. Schlage.  Each of these companies has several grades in these brands, but in this way you are comparing manufacturers, not brand names.  This will help in doing specs more fairly and letting the end user get what they want, or match their existing system.

As the institutional locksmith, or owner, you need to ask your architect or contractor to make sure you are getting the quality you are asking for, or hardware that matches what you are currently using at the very least.  With the budgeting of projects these days, the lowest bidder will get the bid, and for the wrong reasons, security concerns with cheap hardware are rarely noticed until after it's installed.  

Ask for someone to write the specs with what you want, even if it crosses several manufacturers.  But even better, call the Consultant for the manufacturer.  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Institutional Locksmithing: When you ALMOST get the hardware correct......

Institutional Locksmithing: When you ALMOST get the hardware correct......: I haven't posted in a while.....been kinda busy.  I wanted to bring something to attention that resulted from a lack of oversight.   I ...

When you ALMOST get the hardware correct......

I haven't posted in a while.....been kinda busy.  I wanted to bring something to attention that resulted from a lack of oversight.  I will try to put in order the events which led to our little, not problem, but what could have been better.

We have on our campus a new building, very nicely done, designed for our students as a new gathering place.  Large TV's, gaming stations, restaurants, study areas, and offices for Alumni and Student association.  Also a very nice conference area.  The building was a design-build.  The architect had in mind to build a showpiece, one that could be put up for awards.  Everything in the building is high end, down to the one of a kind custom furniture.  I am personally not very keen on the design-build concept as an end user, but that is what led to our situation.

We have on our campus an A2 system for locks using a SFIC (small format interchangeable core, see other blogs).  For that, I was asked what kind of hardware I preferred in the building.  I presented what I would like to see installed, and gave them a book with all the different locks listed.  I use a lot of different brands of locks on campus, from Grade 1 Mortise, to low-end imports.  Each has it's own uses.  For this building, we were being presented with a steel and glass building, this made for a lot of store-front, curtain wall systems.  I asked that all doors be installed with a geared continuous hinge.  The architect looked a little shocked at my request, then thanked me for asking for that to be done.  I have a preference for clutching levers when I install new hardware, so I asked for Stanley Best 9K's  ( ) as my grade 1 choice, or Yale BAU5300LN's ( )  for my grade 2 choice.  All panics were to be Stanley Precision  (  ) for which I have a particular affinity (see other blogs).  For the closers', I asked for LCN's 4041's and 1461's (  )  throughout except for the automatic door openers, which again, we would use Stanley Low Impact  (  ).  For the storefront doors to the offices,  we were told they would be glass doors, so I asked for Adams Rite hardware to be installed  ( ).

So you are probably asking, why is there an issue?  Well, here is what happened.  

We supplied what we would like to have installed on the doors, I was sent a list of the hardware model to be installed, and found nothing objectionable.  One problem.  I wasn't told what kind of door they would be installed on.  All I knew was Aluminum storefront with glass, or FRP doors on the mechanical rooms ( the mechanical doors had flush bolts and cylindrical locks).  The few wood doors wouldn't be an issue.  When told aluminum storefront, you assume narrow-stile, 3-0 x 7-0.  What they installed was medium stile interior, and wide stile exterior.  Interior was 3-0 x 8-0, and exterior 3-6 x 8-0.  That can make quite a difference on your hardware.  One catch, the hardware was ordered before the door designs were finalized.  Again, a design-build type problem.  Me being the locksmith for the contracted company at the campus, not the contractor, I didn't see what they were finally putting in till they were already in.  There were several layers of people above me making decisions about the building, and I don't think any of them were looking at the hardware.  After all was said and done, even the builder was asking me about hardware issues on some of the other buildings they were working on.  I have come to learn that hardware is confusing, even to people who deal with it for a living.

 Both of these are correct.  The Best Access 9K electrified lock at bottom, and the correct Precision FL2800 in the upper picture.  Note that the head on the Precision is the wider type.

Let me show you what is ALMOST correct.

Inside and outside views of the same set of doors.  These are 4-0 x 8-0 Special-Lite FRP doors ( we love this type of door ), with concealed vertical rods.  I was asked if I could install a rim-cylinder on the bar to open it from the outside, but there wasn't room to do that. All I could do was add pulls and make the bar be cylinder dogged.  Note the style of bar used.  This one is designed for narrow style doors, not flush doors.  The bars were added at the factory where the doors were built.  No way to change them without adding a mullion.

Notice how close to the edge of the door the rim cylinder is, and the head on the bar on the inside.  Again, right product, wrong model.

The one that irritates me the most is this one.  The framing has an unusually wide jamb on the frame, (at least to me), and they used the narrower model of the Adams Rite lock which crowds the jamb with the mortise, making it harder to unlock, and it looks aesthetically wrong to me.

There is nothing wrong with any of the hardware used as far as not functioning, they all work, and work pretty well, just not quite correct.  What needs to be done for any future project that we do which is design-build is be more involved in what is being ordered to be installed in the building.  I am not the only department having an issue.  Our plumber was not happy at all to see cast-iron going in under the slab instead of PVC, and the electrical was a little undersized for what they have asked to add since it was built.  We have finishes that are unique to this building on campus which now requires us to store more tile types and paint colors.

Anytime you are involved in this type of project, try and make it a point to be active in the decisions for your discipline.  And if you are the one ordering the parts and making the choices, PLEASE  keep the end users in the loop before ordering.  A little conversation can go a long way to avoiding migraines.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Storm Damage....Now what?

Institutional Locksmithing: Storm Damage....Now what?: Friday the 13th .....usually one of my better days when it comes around.  However, this past Friday the 13th, we had a "weather event".  We...

Storm Damage....Now what?

Friday the 13th.....usually one of my better days when it comes around.  However, this past Friday the 13th, we had a "weather event".  We had a micro-burst by the facility I work at.  I had gone home at my usual 5:00 and had just set down to supper when I heard a rumble of thunder.  I told my wife that is sounded like it was going to rain.  Ten minutes later, my boss called and said we had some windows broken on our arena and could I come in, "and bring your camera".  As I was arriving, the street leading to the facility was blocked with power poles that had been snapped about 3' above the ground, I had to take the back way in.

When I arrived, I saw the satelite uplink building having the roof covered, fences down, trees split in half, and then I saw the broken windows.....WOW.  The wind had blown out some windows on the mezzanine level, and pushed an office wall across the hall, blown out one of the exit doors on the Entry ring level, and had damaged a curtain wall on the opposite side of the building.  I didn't learn till later that I had 8 sets of aluminum double doors damaged on the main ground level entry.

Here is the video from a security camera outside the building.....

This is what happened in the lobby where my doors were damaged.....

The guy in the bottom video was looking for something to catch water...(even with the doors flying open like they were)

The doors are only 3 years old.  They are Kawneer medium style with Dor-O-Matic panics (no I didn't spec them, I have a different preferance) with LCN 4041 closers. The curtain wall is original to 1972.  My understanding is that they were latched when the weather event started.  Usually, they are dogged down.

I took right at 400 pics of damage, including a Pepsi machine that was blown down the stairs to the Mezzanine.  The event was only about 15 minutes in duration.  The airport 2 miles away recored 68 mph winds, but we think it was around 80 here.

This is what the exit door on the upper level looked like afterward....Only a year old on the doors, but the framing is from the original build in 1972.

We have had the insurance adjusters here this past week, and they are sendng a sructural engineeer to make sure everything is above board.  Now, we get the parts and do the repairs....

Part of the job as an Instutional Locksmith.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Hardware Finish and the Cleaning Crew

Institutional Locksmithing: Hardware Finish and the Cleaning Crew: As the installer of hardware, I'm not sure that the situation I am going to talk about is totally in my scope, but I will take part of the b...

Hardware Finish and the Cleaning Crew

As the installer of hardware, I'm not sure that the situation I am going to talk about is totally in my scope, but I will take part of the blame.

When an architect or designer decides on a hardware finish, there is usually a reason behind it.  Where I work, most of the hardware, when I started, is 606.  We are now switching most of it to 626, and 613.  If you don't know what I am talking about, here is link to the BHMA/ANSI  chart:

What we fail sometimes to think about is that others we work with don't know what we know.

Finishes have warranties on your hardware.  Some have limited warranties, some have lifetime, and some, like 613 are called "living finishes".  Below is a chart from one of the larger manufacturers.

You will notice on the bottom some care guidelines.  Here are some of those guidelines:

On some charts is suggests that you use graphite to re-lube the lock.   Unless you understand that a VERY SMALL amount of graphite needs to be BLOWN into the lock, don't use it.  Instead, use a lube with PTFE in it.  My favorite is Tri-Lube.  It bonds to the metal and puts a Teflon coating on the finish.

So let me explain why I am writing this article.  About a week ago, our cleaning crew was told to sanitize the panic hardware on the entry doors to one of the buildings.  They cleaned the oil-rubbed bronze hardware with ECOLAB--Lemoneze, followed by a disinfectant.  Here are pictures of what it should look like, and what it did when they got done.


What I have found out is that the warranty will not cover the finish that was removed.  It may not be able to be refinished......... I had 8 bars cleaned off.  I will take some of the responsibility because I did not make sure the cleaning crew knew how to clean the hardware.  I am hoping the natural patina will return with a little help, but as you can see, it is already starting to corrode.  

So the moral of the story is, make sure everyone knows what is expected on finish and color, and they know how to clean it.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: WHY YOU NEED A SPEC BOOK..

Institutional Locksmithing: WHY YOU NEED A SPEC BOOK..: At our facility, we are building a new building for the first time in almost 15 years.  This will be a new multi-use building for students a...


At our facility, we are building a new building for the first time in almost 15 years.  This will be a new multi-use building for students and staff and alumni.  When dealing with the designers, it has become abundantly clear that a SPEC BOOK is vitally needed.

Having worked with spec books and other building specs required for bidding in some of my other positions, I was prepared for this.  Some of my fellow co-workers in charge of some of the other building disciplines were not so lucky.  Our plumbing, CCTV/Alarm, and some others had to go through the plans with the architect to explain what they wanted in each location so it could go out to bid.  Admittedly each situation is different for them, and requires specific types of fixtures or systems.  I had my requirements in a book with pictures and expectations ready.  I was in there for 20 minutes, not the 2+ hours the others had to spend.

We have several contractors doing work on our facility, and a written spec is vital for bidding.  

For us, I have written a spec with the following guidelines.

First and foremost is that all hardware must work with our existing key system.  We have a patented SFIC (small format interchangeable core) see other blogs)) and all hardware must work with that type of core.  We have had in the past a designer have a local hardware supplier spec a job and they would spec something they sell, and it would not work with what we already had in place.  I have learned that you have to keep track of projects so they don't install something you have to replace later.  

I have a specific type of Grade 1 lock that I specify (Stanley Best 9K), a particular type of Grady 2 for some applications, like offices and non-classroom areas (Stanley Best 7K).  A particular type of Grade 2 I like for classrooms and dorm rooms (Yale 5300LN), and a certain type of deadbolt for particular applications (Stanley Best T-Series).  

I am very particular on the type of panic hardware I use (Precision) and closers (LCN) .  I would also recommend that you try to move to continuous hinges in your projects.  You will discover that a lot of your door issues will go away.  I recommend Select Continuous Geared Hinges.

The binder I handed to the architect on our new project was almost 600 pages (mostly copies of the catalogs that showed the products) and he actually said thank you.  The actual spec sheet is only 6 pages, and covers as many types of hardware as I use, from door type to door stop to sweep and seal.

Many of  your suppliers will help you write your spec book, and I would recommend that you take them up on it.  Of course, they will spec their hardware, but I would expect you to work with your favorite hardware supplier anyway.  They will, if asked, put what YOU want in your book, and I have taken advantage of that.

Since we can hand a spec to anyone doing work at our facility, they have no cause to install something we don't want and have to pay to replace.  It saves both time and money for both parties.

Not everyone will think this is important, but until you have someone install hardware that doesn't work with your system, and you have to replace it at your cost, I can only recommend that you look at having this done, or write one yourself.    

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Key Control Software

Institutional Locksmithing: Key Control Software: Over the years I have been asked by several about a way to keep up with keys being issued and a way help with inventory etc.  The first time...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: Grade 1 vs. Grade 2 What's the difference?

Institutional Locksmithing: Grade 1 vs. Grade 2 What's the difference?: Recently I have been asked to create a spec sheet for a new construction project at work. When we got to the meeting with the architect and...

Grade 1 vs. Grade 2 What's the difference?

Recently I have been asked to create a spec sheet for a new construction project at work.  When we got to the meeting with the architect and construction contractor they asked for my opinion on what I wanted in the building.  My first question to them was "Grade 1, or Grade 2?"  I got a few blank stares from some of the participants who don't deal with hardware as to what I was talking about.  Of course I wanted Grade 1 locks for the project, but they had built into their budget Grade 2.  That is OK since they will be interior office doors, but for the exit hardware, I made sure it was Grade 1 panics and closers.

So, what's the difference?

To help describe the difference, I will deal with cylindrical locks for the moment.  The following chart will help explain the difference:

You will find the differences in lever torque, and cycle counts. 

Why is this important?

Let's say I have a door that is used by a bunch of students many times a day, like a door to an auditorium or some other multi use room.  Say we have 1000 students who go through that door 3 times a day.  Well, that is potentially 3000 openings a day, 15,000 a week, and 75,000 to 100,000 a semester.  You will see by the chart that in a grade 3 it should last about a year (2 semesters and a summer).  In a grade 2, 2 years; and in a grade 1, 4 years.  Now we know that this is extreme, but you get the idea. 

So what's the big deal?

Quick example:  Grade 1 Cylindrical clutching lever-$250.00
                          Grade 2 Cylindrical clutching lever-$120.00
                          Grade 3 Cylindrical clutching lever-$  65.00

Now that is just a rough cost, depending on which brand you prefer, and finish and function, that price can vary quite a bit.

So, 2 grade 3's for the price of a grade 2, and 2 grade 2's for the price of a grade 1.  Basically even money for the life expectancy, till you figure failure rates, and maintenance costs.  Then the grade 1 is by far the better more logical choice.

Take a look at some of the construction of the locks in the following spec sheets:

On one of the install sheets I found some information I didn't know from the the sales rep, or the catalog.  If you don't use the "removable through-bolts" then the lock does not meet the grade 2 ANSI standard and becomes a grade 3.  I have steel doors in a lot of my areas, and don't always install the through-bolts.  Didn't know I was downgrading my locks.

If you look at how some of the locks are built, you will notice that some of the spring returns for the levers are in the rose.  lots of companies do this, which leaves a little tab that handle sets over for the handle return to level.  In the grade one, it is in the body of the lock, not in the rose.   Now this is just from the examples I have shown.

The grade 1 is a Stanley Best 9K.  The grade 2's are Yale 5300LN, and the Cal-Royal SL series.  The Yale does not have removable through-bolts, but the Cal-Royal does.

I use SFIC cores ( see other blogs ) and appreciate the fact that on the 9K you cannot take the handle off on the outside without taking the core out first.  I have seen locks opened by taking the outside handle off and exposing the inner workings.  A good security feature to have if you need that.

A couple of things to remember, not all grades of locks have the same functions.  This too can be a determining factor in what grade of lock you use.

The Best 9K is a grade 1, and the 7KC is a grade 2.  There are about 15 other functions that the 9K can do that the 7KC cannot.  Most brands are like this.  If you have a special need or function, you will probably have to use a grade 1 anyway.

The same can be said for panic devices and closers.  I will try to do them in future blogs, but you get the idea of grading.

The whole thing boils down to this,  What is your budget, how often is the door going to be accessed, and what types of functions do you need.

Please leave comments (I am actually curious if anyone reads this).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Institutional Locksmithing: The times they are a changin....

Institutional Locksmithing: The times they are a changin....: I haven't posted since the beginning of the Fall semester at the University. A lot has happened in the past few months. We have a new buil...

The times they are a changin....

I haven't posted since the beginning of the Fall semester at the University.  A lot has happened in the past few months.  We have a new building project with a "Design Build" philosophy.  Not a process I like, but it is the way buildings are being built more and more.  It is supposed to allow existing funding to be used more efficiently.  Some of the building has already been let out to bid, wall systems, electrical, concrete, landscaping, etc.  But access control and hardware hasn't yet, even though the wall systems have.  If you are wondering why this is a problem, it is because the exterior doors are in the wall systems (most of the building is glass) and different glass doors require different hardware.  We have on campus several Kawneer wide style panel-line doors.  Not bad doors, but not the best made either. I have had difficulty with the Panel-Line EL panics in them.  Even brand new ones won't work correctly sometimes. We used to have Vistawall doors, narrow and medium style.  I am looking forward to all of those being replaced.  The doors we have grown to really want are Special-Lite doors. I haven't had to touch any of them since they were put in. Yes, they are more expensive, and yes, they are custom fit to each opening, but the saying "You get what you pay for".  The reason this is important, is the hardware choices made by the end user need to the ones used.  Some of the companies who spec the hardware will change it to an equal alternative.  If you don't make it very clear what you want, you will end up with the cheapest thing on the market.  Remember, it is you who has to fix whatever is installed.

One of the other things I have learned, and am dealing with is state lisencing.  Before, I was exempt because I was at a University.  Now that our maintenance company is contracted to the University, and we are not direct employees, I have to get a whole new lisence.  To do that, I may have to start my own company to get the lisencing.  We will see where that leads.

Anyway, I will start posting more, I have been asked a lot of questions lately, and have a few ideas to talk about.  If anyone has a suggestion, leave a comment.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Institutional Locksmithing: Where do you start?

Institutional Locksmithing: Where do you start?: If you start a job at a facility that has some kind of key control and key policy in place; and is being used, you are one of the lucky fe...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Institutional Locksmithing: Certification......Training......and Connections.....

Institutional Locksmithing: Certification......Training......and Connections.....: With the start of our school year, I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and write. However, lately I have been looking at where I am in ...

Certification......Training......and Connections.......

With the start of our school year, I haven't had a lot of time to sit down and write.  However, lately I have been looking at where I am in my career.  As an Institutional Locksmith, there are a lot of times you feal like you are on an island.  By that, a lot of us did not start out as a locksmith.  We were carpenters or other facility personnel who learned the trade to cover the position, and stayed with it.  I am one of those people.  But since then I have done a locksmithing school, and try to stay up with current trends.  But you can't do it alone.

I have been doing some digging about becoming certified as an Institutional Locksmith.  To me, in the state where I live, the locksmith licensing does not help the Institutional locksmith since it is not required for us to have it.  However, we are responsible for more than getting into your car, or making the extra key for your house or business.  We have to make sure that ADA rules, and Lifesafety codes are being followed.  I'm not saying that your local locksmith doesn't, but once the lock is installed, his part is finished.  Ours we work with everyday, and will be responsible for the results of our decisions.

In my research, I have come across a couple of organizations that offer a certification course.  The first is from the National Locksmith Association.    This is a well established organization of locksmith professionals who cover it all.  However, they do a lot of concentration on autos and safes.  The first is something the Institutional Locksmith doesn't deal with hardly ever.  The second is a specialized field.

Additionally, there is the National Locksmithing Institute.  They offer a course for the Institutional locksmith.  It is a week long, and covers the basics through, and including lifesafety, with a certification exam at the end.

Another is the Institutional Locksmiths Association.  This is the organization I am the most interested in.  It is more available to this area.  I also am impressed with the different subject matter in their training.

All have arrangements with different manufacturers for specialized training on their products.  For those of us who are tied to an institution, It is important to try to get connected with one of these organizations so we can keep up with changing trends, and hardware.  And these are not the only ones. 

In the last week, I have had 4 different companies (salesmen, or suppliers) in my office for various reasons.

I have learned that most offer some kind of training, and a couple offer CEU's (Continuing Education Units) at various locations around the country.  A couple offer training at no cost as long as you can make it to the site.

Even with manufacturer training, connecting with other professionals is a must.  I have been one since my days working for the Department of Labor (where we could not accept anything from a supplier, including a pen or notepad) of not accepting offers of attending events.  Recently, I have been transitioned to a company contracted to do the maintenance at our facility, and my boss keeps telling me I need to go so I can develop a network of people.  This has caused me to join  , and write this blog.

But I want to take this forum to thank one of my reps for a recent event that has given me a much needed spark.  Stanley Black and Decker held an appreciation a couple nights ago at a venue about an hour and a half from my home.  It was at a Horse Track where they had rented a suite for us to relax and meet others who use their products, and get to know some of the folks in their offices.  It was a very enjoyable evening where I got to know some of the others in the area, and discuss what we use and just talk shop with others who get it.  I met a lot of great people there and appreciate the head of security giving a little tour of some of his equipment.  If you are invited to events like this, whether you use their product or not, go.  You will get a feel from people who actually use the product and get an honest evaluation of it.

We are all just a downsizing away from needing to go somewhere else, even though we will be the last ones gone (someone has to lock it up) and the first ones back (someone has to UN-lock it also), and I have learned that contacts are very important.

Make a connection.......