Choos­ing the right lock is key to beat­ing the bur­glars

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Dr St­ef­fan Ge­orge

HOMEOWNERS of­ten mis­tak­enly be­lieve that if you can buy a lock in a DIY shop then it will im­prove the se­cu­rity of a home, but in re­al­ity, up­grad­ing or re­plac­ing a lock is not as black and white as it may seem.

While it’s fair to say that any rep­utable sup­plier should only stock prod­ucts that are in-line with Euro­pean Stan­dards it can­not be said that this is al­ways the case, and in re­al­ity some shop own­ers will stock in­fe­rior prod­ucts. This cou­pled with the fact that all locks aren’t suit­able for all doors means that the process of choos­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate lock for a home can be a com­pli­cated one.

When se­lect­ing a lock for your home is not a case of sim­ply choos­ing one that “looks right” off the shelf.

You need to take into ac­count a num­ber of vari­ables such as what type of door / win­dow you have, the level of key se­cu­rity you re­quire, the qual­ity of the frame in which you are fit­ting it, your in­surance re­quire­ments and your de­sired se­cu­rity level, mean­ing that there is never one lock to suit all needs.

For in­stance a stan­dard mor­tice lock would not work a multi point lock­ing sys­tem on a UPVC door. While a door that has a dam­aged frame or un­re­in­forced glass pan­els will be less se­cure no mat­ter what type of lock you in­stall. So to make sure you have the cor­rect hard­ware and lock al­ways seek ad­vice from a qual­i­fied, in­spected and vet­ted lock­smith to en­sure you have the best locks to suit your needs.

A lock­smith may rec­om­mend the in­stal­la­tion of a patented or re­stricted lock into a home as a way of boost­ing se­cu­rity – patented keys carry le­gal pro­tec­tion, prevent­ing copies of keys be­ing made with­out pro­vid­ing proof of own­er­ship, while re­stricted keys are un­likely to be copied due to their un­usual de­sign and unique me­chan­i­cal features.

Patented or re­stricted keys help en­sure that ex­tra keys can’t be made with­out your knowl­edge and the in­stil­la­tion of such sys­tem means that pre­vi­ous own­ers or ten­ants should not still have ac­cess to your home.

In some in­stances if patented keys are stolen or go miss­ing, the ex­ist­ing key can be deleted from a lock­smith’s key code data­base, the lock re-con­fig­ured and new keys is­sued, en­sur­ing that a lost or stolen key no longer works on the lock, se­cu­rity lev­els re­main high and the need to in­stall re­place­ment locks is re­moved.

In ad­di­tion to meet­ing se­cu­rity stan­dards and en­sur­ing a lock is cor­rectly spec­i­fied and in­stalled, a pro­fes­sional lock­smith will also be able to ad­vise on any ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures you may want to con­sider. Many lock­smiths will be qual­i­fied to dis­cuss and in­stall ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures such as alarms, grilles, fences, safes, CCTV and se­cu­rity for out­houses such as sheds and garages.

A qual­i­fied lock­smith such as a mem­ber of the MLA will al­ways pro­vide ac­cu­rate, in­de­pen­dent, pro­fes­sional ad­vice on the best lock for your home. A pro­fes­sional will of­fer ad­di­tional se­cu­rity ad­vice and per­haps most im­por­tantly will be able to fit locks cor­rectly so they can­not be eas­ily re­moved or dam­aged. A lock­smith will also en­sure that any new locks meet your in­surance re­quire­ments – with­out do­ing so homeowners may find them­selves un­able to make an in­surance claim due to a breach in stip­u­la­tion.

Chang­ing the locks to a prop­erty is not as ex­pen­sive as most peo­ple fear and the MLA rec­om­mend that where pos­si­ble homeowners seek quotes from three of its mem­bers to en­sure cus­tomers are happy with their de­ci­sion. It is also rec­om­mended that new locks are fit­ted as soon as you move to a new prop­erty to en­sure that pre­vi­ous own­ers and their ac­quain­tances no longer have ac­cess.

Dr St­ef­fan Ge­orge is devel­op­ment di­rec­tor of lock­smithing trade as­so­ci­a­tion the Master Lock­smiths As­so­ci­a­tion (MLA).

For more in­for­ma­tion or to find your lo­cal MLA lock­smith go to: www.lock­smiths.co.uk

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