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11
Sep

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Surge in electro-mechanical hardware and integrated building systems means locksmiths need ongoing training in more areas than just the mechanics of the locks, says Allegion UK Commercial Leader Pete Hancox.

In the UK, locksmiths come from all walks of life, taking a variety of routes to join the trade. Ask any locksmith about how he or she got started, and then go and ask another, and you will more than likely get two different answers – whether it was via supplier-led training courses, a locksmithing apprenticeship, being an understudy to a practicing locksmith or through traditional employment.

Why is this? Partly, it is because, until very recently, the locksmith profession lacked a nationally recognised qualification, which the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) recognised.

Although MLA was the first to offer a recognised apprenticeship, it took a significant amount of time for the government to recognise locksmiths as a profession. As of June 2017, details are still being finalised between the MLA and the government to re-develop a ‘trailblazer apprenticeship’.

This is in stark contrast to other professions where wellbeing is concerned. Take gas engineers, for instance. Gas engineers in the UK, according to leading jobs website reed.co.uk, must have relevant qualifications, usually an NVQ Level 3 in Gas Installation, and also be Gas Safe registered. Apprenticeship is a common route for attaining a gas engineer position, too.

This lack of regulation has given existing locksmiths a very diverse range of skillsets and experience. Of course, diversity is welcome, and diversity is known to bring outside-of-the-box solutions. However, when we start comparing the two professions, we can start to see how gas engineers will be ‘singing from the same hymn sheet,’ whereas our locksmiths could be working from all manner of different pages.

For the future of locksmithing, this very diversity could potentially be harming our buildings and our occupants’ wellbeing, as opposed to aiding them. We could be creating an environment where knowledge levels, procedures, best practices and the way building hardware solutions are selected are all different and varied.

While it could be years before we reach a standardised route similar to that of gas engineers, we should at least be encouraging our locksmiths to complete ongoing training, particularly to keep pace with daily developments.

The Electro-Mechanical Game Changer

We are now coming to a stage in the door hardware industry where development is rapidly overtaking existing knowledge. Electro-mechanical ‘smart’ hardware means the ability to unlock doors from phones, control access to secure areas and remotely lockdown, are all feasible and affordable functions which are being sought after by building managers.

Fully integrated building solutions and biometrics are also becoming more commonplace, and forward-thinking estates managers and architects will be thinking about scalability for the future.

In the face of this surge in development, which by no means will saturate as technologies get ever more clever, locksmiths are now faced with a real problem. If they do not train in these new technologies and learn new skills, they face becoming dinosaurs that do not understand the complex natures of electronically controlled doorways and buildings.

Ultimately, without a proper understanding, it can impact health and safety as well as compliance.

A case in point happened as recently as 2016, when a fire door in a hospital that was fitted with a self-closing device shut on an elderly patient, causing injury. Unfortunately, this injury contributed to that patient’s death. Intended to be an aid for the door, it has instead caused accident and tragedy.

After the case, the Department of Health suggested that risk assessments should be carried out on all fire door closing devices to assess appropriate closing times, taking into account the occupancy of the building. For locksmiths who are ‘self-taught’ and have little knowledge in these electro-magnetic devices and risk assessments, we can immediately see how ongoing training in this area will benefit them.

Health, Safety and Security Compliance – The Unwritten ‘Duty of Care’

In many commercial cases, it is the role of the facilities manager, or representative of the estate, to guarantee the health and safety and security of occupants, and there are strict guidelines and classifications to door hardware that must be met.

However, the varying level and difference in understanding of door hardware across both facilities managers and locksmiths leads to different ideas between the two parties. The former may be constrained by budgets and ‘the bigger picture,’ while the latter may focus on single aspects of doorways and locks, particularly if they are not acclimatised to electro-mechanical systems that are in place or being planned.

These blurred lines can be difficult to navigate, and health and safety can be compromised if one party or the other is negligent in their ‘Duty of Care,’ which is another unwritten code of conduct.

Take lockdown situations for example – a popular topic given the amount of security issues we are now accustomed to seeing in the media.

In the US, many schools are more accustomed to drilling students and staff on lockdown procedures and may also be advised on lockdown hardware. It is less common in the UK, but our access control systems are now ready to combat these situations, if required.

For the un-initiated locksmith though, there may be skills gaps which cannot be plugged – and this can lead to improper solutions, or even botched jobs. When faced in a lockdown situation, if there is a fault in the locking systems, this can be life-threatening.

When botched jobs do happen, it then becomes a story of whose duty of care it is to maintain the working order of the building and the locks – has the locksmith correctly set the locking devices, or have they set them to what they think is the correct setting, when it actually is not for that building’s particular use? Who is liable?

An unfortunate case whereby duty of care of the locksmith was called into question happened in 1981 in the US, way before our hardware was as technologically advanced as it is today.

Lori Einhorn was unfortunately assaulted during a visit to her then fiancé Kenneth Einhorn’s flat by an assailant who was not a tenant of the building. The case was brought against the building landlord David Seeley and locksmith REM Discount Security Products. The claim was that the front door lock on the building was allegedly broken to an extent where it could be opened “with a firm push, even when locked,” and that as installers of the lock, REM allegedly had a duty of care to the plaintiffs for their faulty installation.

In the end, the judge ruled that REM did not have a duty of care or liability towards Lori Einhorn, as, amongst others, these was no special relationship between her and the locksmith.

However, we can start to see where locksmiths may get embroiled in complex cases of liability, particularly with electro-mechanical access control hardware where there are many stakeholders in the process.

Short-term Costs, Long-term Gains

As with all training, there is an associated cost. It can be hard to see past this cost if benefits are viewed as minimal or not even applicable to current situations. For locksmiths who have conventionally worked purely in mechanical locks, it is even harder to see why they themselves will need training in disciplines such as biometrics or computer-aided systems, when traditionally these applications have only been used in select, sensitive buildings.

However, we as manufacturers are constantly exploring technology that can enhance door hardware capabilities and the customer experience, simply because we believe in innovating for the better. Technologically enhanced door hardware will soon be more accepted as the norm as we become accustomed to the benefits it offers, as well as if costs on such hardware continues to fall.

Therefore, if we do not encourage our locksmiths to train, in the end we are ultimately costing more to our buildings, and to the welfare of our occupants.

21
Aug

Located in St Andrews, the legendary home of golf, stands the Kinnettles Hotel Spa, a bespoke luxury 5-star hotel that as recently undergone a major refurbishment programme, in partnership with published Scottish interior designer Pat Renson who has designed the hotels unique collection of distinguished Suites. Incorporated in the high specification refurbishment was the installation of the latest state of the art Smartlock Security system from Securefast plc for all bedroom and communal doors.

Originally built in 1879 and designed by architects J. Hall and D. Henry, the hotel’s 9 luxurious suites are each fitted with BE-Tech Mifare Virtual Hotel lock to all bedroom doors as well as the communal door from the restaurant to the guest area, together with the BE-Tech Virtual Hotel system management software.

The stylish new Smartlock ASL900 is a wire free, stand alone, intelligent computer based access control system that uses MIFARE® RFID proximity card technology, which offers a cable free, easy to operate and secure access solution. By combining the hotel’s classical elegance with the latest Securefast technology ensures that guests enjoy the luxury and splendour of the magnificent rooms combined with hassle free checking-in and check-out whilst maintaining the security at the hotel.

With 60min fire rating, the new Smartlock by Securefast incorporates centralised card programming, which utilises easy to use Windows based software that enables individual and personalised card access to doors and areas, time and date validity and shift control, all without the need for unsightly cable installations around the building.

To receive further information on the Securefast Smartlock system please contact the sales team on 01543 501600 or visit the web site at www.securefast.co.uk

28
Jul

UNION, part of ASSA ABLOY Security Solutions, a division of ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions, has launched the FastLatch, a new range of push fit tubular latches and privacy bolts.

Designed with a stylish and modern appearance for interior doors, FastLatch is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to install due to its revolutionary round forend, reducing installation time and offering a professional finish.

Available in a choice of three high quality finishes – polished chrome, polished brass and satin nickel, FastLatch is supplied with both round and square corner strike options, enabling a quick and simple installation or retrofit.

FastLatch has been tested to 800,000 closing cycles, to ensure it lasts for decades of residential use, reducing maintenance and replacement costs.

Karen Hubbard, Mortice ­Product Manager at ASSA ABLOY Security Solutions, said: “FastLatch is a perfect fit for modern living, offering a stylish finish for interior doors. As well as meeting aesthetic needs, the FastLatch is simple to install, saving time for installers. FastLatch represents the quality, reliability and ease of installation that is expected of a UNION product.”

For further information, please visit www.uniononline.co.uk/fastlatch or contact the UNION sales team on 0845 223 2124. You can also like UNION’s Facebook page or follow on Twitter.

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21
May

Open window burglaries!

In warm weather, people leave windows and doors open for ventilation.

This gives burglars an easy opportunity to gain entry quickly and quietly by reaching in to open larger windows. Small windows often give access to larger windows so, no matter how small they are, make sure you lock them.

These burglaries occur at all times of the day and night. It is therefore essential that you remember to close and lock all doors and downstairs windows, especially those adjacent to flat roofs and large downpipes.

You can download this tip in a .PDF document here.

26
Apr

Dear Friends

 

Thank you for signing the petition, started by Friends of Tooting Common, to Save Chestnut Avenue on the Common.  Subsequently, Friends of Tooting Common and the Save Chestnut Avenue campaign have agreed that the Save Chestnut Avenue campaign will be in the lead in taking forward consideration of further action to save the trees.  We are therefore writing to update you on developments in their campaign.

 

Update on the Save Chestnut Avenue campaign

Thank you for supporting our campaign to Save Chestnut Avenue on Tooting Common.

We’ve been incredibly busy behind the scenes – the campaign is getting so much attention that Wandsworth Council just issued a scaremongering press release to terrify people into supporting the chop!   Please be reassured that the trees are NOT dangerous.

Read the new report we’ve attached by heritage tree specialist Jeremy Barrell, who concludes that the chestnuts have been well maintained by Wandsworth Borough Council, are safe, hugely important in terms of heritage and the environment and most have decades of life left! https://www.dropbox.com/s/25orj6t4njpmax2/Barrell%20tree%20report.pdf?dl=0

But Wandsworth Council still won’t listen and are determined to destroy the avenue this Autumn, so we urgently need your help. Please write an email/ letter or both.  Explain why you don’t want the chestnut trees destroyed.  We’ve attached a list of our objections to ‘fell and replace’ which you can use in your argument, but please do not copy verbatim, make your message personal – and attach Jeremy Barrell’s report. https://www.dropbox.com/s/fu9oss6yoo1tmwm/Save%20Chestnut%20Avenue.pdf?dl=0

 

Who should you write to?

Wandsworth Council.

Jonathan Cook, the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Services is the decision maker for Chestnut Avenue. Ask your ward councillors to talk to Jonathan Cook on your behalf. He is more likely to listen to his fellow conservative councillor colleagues so it is particularly important to get their support. You can even cc Jonathan Cook and Ravi Govindia, the Head of the Council into your emails. Remember the Wandsworth Council elections are next year so they are keener than ever for public support.

jonathancook@wandsworth.gov.uk

rgovindia@wandsworth.gov.uk

To find your local councillors, type in your postcode here - http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200438/councillors

Once you’ve found your councillors – click on their name to get their contact details.

 

Heritage Lottery Fund

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London  -  london@hlf.org.uk

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF - sarahO@hlf.org.uk (administrator).

Explain the flaws in the consultation, your dismay at the destruction of beautiful heritage trees and how wonderful if would be if their grant could be used to restore the avenue rather than fell and replace.

MP for Tooting, Rosena Allin-Khan met with us this week.  She has always been passionate about this campaign, not only as our Tooting representative in Parliament but as a local and a mum. She would like to encourage as many letters to be written as possible from members of ALL political parties. She feels our case will be stronger if we continue with our community driven, cross-party approach. She will be asking Jonathan Cook for answers on why the council have not yet responded to our requests to review Jeremy Barrell’s report and do whatever she can to bring awareness to Save Chestnut Avenue.

 

Upcoming Events

Let’s Talk Bedford Ward meeting on May 11th is VITAL!  This public meeting will include all Bedford Ward councillors – Fleur Anderson, Antonia Dunn, Rosena Allin-Khan, Simon Hogg (Labour Leader of WBC) and Ravi Govindia, and is our chance to show as much cross-party support as possible. If you are a Bedford Ward resident and are free to attend please contact us for details.

You’ll see us on Chestnut Avenue most weekends and we’re organising workshops and a big event during London Tree Week – May 27th – June 4th so keep your eyes peeled for further details on how you can get involved. Please follow us on FB and Twitter at Save Chestnut Avenue and spread the word – we must Stop this Chop!

If you have any queries, links to the press, or suggestions for the campaign, please drop us a line at savechestnutavenue@gmail.com

Can you also help spread the word by forwarding the petition link to your friends? https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-trees-on-chestnut-avenue

Thanks again for your continued support.

Save Chestnut Avenue.

19
Apr

Unique 18 years’ protection on new locking system

A new high end, fully patented cylinder lock range with a lifetime trade mark has been launched by HOPPE (UK) for a wide range of commercial, residential and industrial needs.

The AR3000 range boasts a unique 14mm core which allows for more pin variations and an extremely high number of combination possibilities for larger, more complex master key systems at no extra cost.

The system is patented until 2034 and has unlimited, lifetime trademark protection which prevents illegal duplication of keys. It also features tamper-proof technologies and classroom function.

Cylinders can be made to any length – even to the longest lengths required in buildings with thicker doors for acoustic properties, such as music schools and theatres – and come in a wide assortment of double and single cylinder types and padlocks. Special finishes can be provided, including bronze and polished brass.

Andy Matthews, head of sales for HOPPE (UK) said:

“This is a stunning product, providing a level of security that is unrivalled in the cylinder market in terms of length of patent protection. We can match any finish required, and manufacture to any length. These cylinders can cope with the toughest demands, and perform to the highest standards.

“HOPPE is already well regarded as a cylinder specialist. With our broad offering of cylinders and our in-house cylinder centre staffed by qualified locksmiths, we have been offering a master-keying service for master suites and keyed alike sets for over 10 years. We really can meet all of our customers’ requirements, and make the preparation and supply of master key systems very easy for them.”

For further details on the ARRONE Specification Cylinder Range please call HOPPE UK on 01902 484400.

http://www.hoppe.com/gb/en//home

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03
Apr

A Surprise Evening Visitor

Owner and Operator of America’s Lock and Key, Efi Amoyal, has been a locksmith for over 10 years and has successfully operated his company, in Tampa, Florida, serving all of Hillsborough county. During that time, Efi says he’s seen things he wishes could unsee and learned a few things about the human condition along the way, something most locksmiths can relate to. He tells the Locksmith Journal about one particular encounter…

“What I love about locksmithing is that no matter who you are, no matter what your station in life – from a jet-setting CEO to the single mom of two – you’ve likely lost your keys at some point and have called a locksmith for help. As a locksmith, I’ve met so many different people and have encountered so many different homes and ridiculous situations. I’ve learned a lot from it.

“During dinner time one night, I got a phone call from a frequent customer of mine. He’s a landlord who owns a bunch of rental homes, and had one sitting vacant for a while. He wanted to know if I could go over and change the locks on the front door of the house. ‘No biggie’, I told him that I’d be happy to help. I’ve been a locksmith long enough to know that this job wouldn’t take long.

“As I approached the house, it looked overgrown and untidy. I thought that the landlord would need to have the place landscaped, or at least clear it out, to get it ready for the next tenant. I got the new lock and my tools from the truck and got ready to start.

“When I got through the door, it hit me… a weird, strong odor. It was strange and familiar at the same time, a bit like food gone off in the fridge. I fumbled for the light switch, as it had turned to dusk now. Just before my hand hit the switch, I heard a rustling sound.

“I stood stunned when I got the place illuminated. There were stacks of newspapers everywhere. It reminded me of a corn maze in the fall. They were in stacks so high that you could hardly make your way around them. The walls and ceiling had something on them. It smelled a bit like melted chocolate. It looked like there was other sticky stuff as well, but I couldn’t quite place it.

“As I walked through newspaper land, I made my way to the back of the house. I entered what once was a living room. There, I spied two people, bent and gray, sitting in two arm chairs. It was obvious that they were shocked to see me, and stared at me with frozen expressions on their faces.

“I surveyed the room. In one corner there was a mountain of cereal boxes. In the opposite corner, a huge pile of discarded food tins. There was a shelf in the room with over a hundred clocks of all sizes. The people were literally lost in the sea of stuff in this room. The sight, the smell… it was difficult to take it all in!

“I was a bit thrown off by all this. I managed to shout from across the room. ‘What are you people doing here?’ I asked ‘This house is supposed to be vacant.’ The old man spoke slowly. ‘We live here… have for twelve years.’ ‘What’s your name?’ I inquired. ‘We’re the McNeely’s, Josie and Garrett.’

“I excused myself, walking back through the maze of papers, and called my friend the landlord. I needed a reality check at this point. When I explained the situation, he didn’t believe me, and thought I was playing a prank on him. When I mentioned the name they had given me, the phone went quiet.

“Then, he said in a shaky voice, ‘The McNeely’s? I thought that they left the place 6 months ago.  I knew that they left it in a state, and I’ve been putting off dealing with it until now.’ ‘Well’, I said, ‘You’ve got a bit more to deal with than you figured.  I’m leaving now.  I’ll bring you the keys and the bill in the morning.’

“Two lessons learned that night… Always keep your home clean, you never know who might pop in, and, hoarding is a serious issue that requires mental health specialists. Never assume that it’s just a little quirk. Maybe even a third lesson if you’re a landlord, always double check on your properties once someone claims that they’ve left.”

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23
Mar

Yale’s connected smart locks are now fully compatible with RISCO smart home systems, making traditional keys a thing of the past.

RISCO  is a global leader in the security solutions market, producing high quality, reliable security products for every type of security installation. From intrusion systems for residential and commercial installations, to large scale access control and integrated security building management platforms.

When connected to a RISCO smart home system, both Yale’s Keyfree and Keyless Connected Smart Locks can be unlocked from anywhere in the world, providing quick access to friends and family.  As well as remote unlocking via the app, both locks feature a keypad with PIN code access depending on preference.

To connect with the RISCO hub, the Yale Keyfree and Keyless Smart Locks are fitted with a Z-Wave radio module, making the devices easy to set up and use.

Yale’s Keyfree Connected model is suitable for PVC and composite residential doors, whereas the Keyless Connected model is designed for timber doors.

For more information on Yale’s range of connected home security products visit: www.yale.co.uk/smart-living. For more information on RISCO Group visit: www.riscogroup.com

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24
Jan

Some people think that an intruder alarm system advertises that you have something worth stealing. This is not the case; alarms are the best deterrent against burglary. Remember, burglars do not want to be seen or heard; time and noise are their enemies.

The alarm industry is governed by inspectorate bodies similar to the `Gas Safe Register’ who oversee the gas industry. By choosing a company affiliated to one of the recognised inspectorate bodies such as ‘NSF (National Security Inspectorate) or `SSAIB’ (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board), it guarantees that they have met the high standards and business ethics required to be members.

There are three different types of alarm system responses:

  1. A monitored system – provides a police response if the alarm is activated, it signals to the alarm receiving centre who will contact the keyholders and the police. The alarm company will charge an ongoing fee for this facility, on top of the initial installation.
  2.  Speech dialer – if the alarm is activated, the system dials out to a selection of pre-programmed keyholder telephone numbers (not 999) to alert the recipient. The alarm company will charge a one-off purchase price for the speech dialer, on top of the alarm installation.
  3. Audible only system – if the alarm is activated, it will sound, but relies on neighbours and passers-by to respond. All alarm systems must stop sounding and re-arm themselves after 20 minutes.
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