How Do Master Key Systems Work?

Do you walk around with a big ring of keys, feeling like a jailer in an old prison? If you’re a block or facilities manager, we’re willing to bet you do. Not only is it annoying to have to carry so many keys with you all the time, but it can be dangerous too. If there’s an emergency you need to be able to open doors quickly, not be stuck trying to figure out which key opens the door. So, what’s the solution? You need a master key system.

What Is A Master Key System?

Put simply, a master key system is a kind of key plan, where certain keys can open a number of pre-defined doors. So rather than each individual lock needing an individual key and management needing copies of all of those keys, you can have a single management key that opens all of the individual doors. These systems help block managers maintain better control over their premises, saves a lot of money of key replacement costs and is much more convenient, as there are a lower number of keys in circulation.

Keying Levels

The whole master key system is based on a thing called ‘keying levels’. These are the different levels of security that decide which keys have access to which areas.

Change Key: Access to one lock. The Master Key can open this lock.

Master Key: The Master Key can open all Change Key locks below it in the system.

Grand Master Key: The grand master key gives access to multiple Master Keys and everything under them.

This simple system allows you to control access to your property, and reduce the number of keys you as a manager need to carry.

What A Master Key System Could Look Like

We know that might seem a little complicated, so we thought we would give you an example. Say you run a business, and you have 3 sites.

The CEO right at the top would have a Grand Master Key, which could operate any lock, on any door, at any of the facility sites.

Under the CEO you might have 3 building supervisors, each of which manages their own site. So you would have 3 Master Keys, one for each of the buildings. Master Key 1 would operate all of the locks for Building 1, Master Key 2 would do the same for Building 2, and Master Key 3 would operate Building 3. But if Building Supervisor 1 tries to use Master Key 1 on Building 2, it won’t work. Because that Master Key will only work on the locks in building 1.

At the lowest level you have your employees – people who work in the building, but don’t need access to everything within the building. They would be issued something called a Change Key, which could give them access to a specific area in the building. For example, if John works in the Research Department, he’d get a key that could open the Research Department, but wouldn’t work on other departments or areas of the building.

The same thing works with any type of business or building and even residential apartment blocks. Residents have their own key for their own flat, while the facilities manager has a master key that can unlock every door in the entire block. Just one key – not 20. Doesn’t that sound nice?

At My Locks Locksmiths, we specialise in creating Master Key systems for all sorts of buildings, giving block and facilities managers full control of their access. Our locksmiths can fit a full master lock suite in only a few hours, so you can be (almost) key-free in no time. For more information, just get in touch with the team today.