As a local Edinburgh locksmith, I find that most people know very little about lock standards, BS3621, in particular. This is a shame because knowing even the basics can be very useful. Lock standards ensure that the locks you have fitted on your doors have been thoroughly tested and meet certain criteria. They make your property much more secure and can deter intruders. Having locks fitted which meet the required standard can also impact your home insurance policy. If your home is broken into and you do not have the correct standard of lock, your policy may be invalid and your insurer may refuse to pay out.
1. What are British Standards (BS)
Standards are the agreed best way of doing something or of meeting specific criteria. Standards are created by a collaboration of experts, academics, users, manufacturers etc. These groups come together and share knowledge and best practice. This is then written into a document known as a Standard. British Standards exist across many technologies and industries. Compliance to any particular BS is an indication that specifically defined criteria have been met.
2. What is BS3621
BS 3621 was introduced in 2007 and is the British Standard for:
‘Lock assemblies operated by key from both the inside and outside of the door.’
This standard applies to:
- Mortice Deadlocks & SashLocks
- Euro DeadLocks & SashLocks
- Cylinder locks e.g. Nightlatches and rim cylinders
In order for a lock to comply with BS3621, specific design criteria and functionality must be met e.g. the lock must have 5 levers, be able to withstand a drill attack for up to 5 minutes, have an anti-picking mechanism and have specified minimum bolt length etc.
Locks which conform to this standard are essentially “good thief resistant locks”
3. Do all locks on exterior doors need to be BS3621 standard
It really depends on the type of property. Locks which conform to this standard should be fitted to appropriate external doors e.g. wooden or timber doors. These are typically found in domestic homes. These locks provide optimal security (and peace of mind) at affordable prices.
The exception to this is that they are not suitable for use on common main door exits on flats or apartments. A lock with a key on the outside and a thumbwheel on the inside is more appropriate. This allows emergency exit for all households without the use of a key (this type of lock should conform to BS8621 – see below).
4. How can I tell if my lock is BS3621
The British Standards Institute (BSI) undertakes rigorous standardised testing to assess new locks, including common “attack” methods as well as wear and tear reliability and safety. On successful completion of this testing BSI award a “Kitemark” to the particular lock design and manufactured product.
The BSI Kitemark is one of the most recognised symbols for indicating quality, reliability and trust. If a lock conforms to BS3621 the kitemark and standard reference should be stamped on the face of the lock. This will be visible when the door is open and is also prominent on the packaging material.
5. Do insurance companies require locks to be BS3621
All insurance companies have different requirements. However, usually, there is a requirement that relevant locks must comply with BS3621. As mentioned earlier, if you inadvertently indicate that your locks are of this standard and subsequently this is shown not to be the case, your insurance provider may reject any future claims.
6. Are there other lock standards
Yes, there are a number of other standards, which are specific to lock types. Here are some of the more common ones.
- BS8621 – ‘Lock assemblies operated by a key from the outside of the door and by handle or thumbturn from the inside of the door’
As noted earlier, the BS8621 standard is relevant to locks that need a key for entry but not for exit. These are most often seen on main door exits in blocks of flats. They operate with a key on the outside of the door and a thumb turn on the inside. This type of lock enables emergency escape without the need for a key.
- BS10621 – ‘Lock assemblies in which the operating mode can be switched between the normal BS8621operating mode and a secure mode in which no egress is possible’
Locks to this standard provide all the security and functionality of BS8621 locks with the additional capability to manipulate the key from the outside to disable the interior escape functions (thumbwheel/thumb turn) e.g. if you were the last person to leave a building you can lock up and disable the escape function, so, if for example, somebody broke in through a window, they could not escape via the door.
- TS007 three star – this is an updated and improved version of the Kitemark standard for cylinder locks. It was developed by the Door and Hardware Federation and the Glass and Glazing Federation. This update was developed specifically in response to criminals using bespoke methods to specifically attack lock cylinders. It provides several layers of protection.
Hero Locksmith is a trusted local Edinburgh locksmith. We always fit branded, accredited locks to ensure your property is fully protected. If you need help with your locks, please get in touch or give Richard a call on 0131 603 7329