If you’re looking for a master key system and cost is an issue then you’ve almost certainly thought about a Maison Key System.
Simply put, this is a mechanical lock that both you and others can open with separate, unique keys. It’s an age-old system that is cheap and relatively simple.
Everything in life is a compromise, though, and there are pros and cons to the Maison Key System which you need to be aware of.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Pros of a Maison Key System
The Maison Key System is a popular option for both businesses and residential properties in Perth and throughout Australia.
In an apartment complex, each apartment owner only needs one key to open every door in the complex. A single key can open the communal doors, as well as the door to your apartment. Yet this key is unique to the lock of your apartment door, so other residents will not be able to use their keys to open your lock. Equally you won’t be able to open the door locks of fellow residents! So, the system represents ease and convenience for all parties.
A Maison Key System is also a preferred option for strata managers, hotel workers and office staff who also need access to multiple areas within the building, but with certain restrictions. For example, hotel workers will often need access to all the guest rooms, but management will want to restrict access to private offices.
Equally, in a shared office building, staff will require a key system which provides access to the front door, carpark, communal areas and their own offices, but restricts their access to other business premises within the building. The Maison System therefore presents a perfect solution controlled access.
2. Relatively Cheap
The Maison Key System also represents value – it’s a low-cost option. Mechanical systems such as the Maison System invariably cost less than high-tech solutions, especially when compared to the more advanced keycode locks and swipe cards.
3. Simplicity & Reliability
An electronic keypad system is a fantastic option which offers a higher level of security, however they can occasionally malfunction. It can be a costly exercise to fix this high-tech system and sometimes requires you to leave doors unlocked and open while the system is being repaired.
Of course, any lock can malfunction, but a mechanical system is far less likely to break. The simplicity of a Maison Key System can be attractive because of this.
Cons of a Maison Key System
1. Wear and Tear
A Master Key System can open locks hundreds, even thousands of times each and every day. This means that the pins inside can take a real beating.
On a standard tumbler set-up, any one of a huge number of pins inside the lock can bend and break.
This will bind the cylinder and you’ll need to call out an emergency locksmith to repair the damage. Standard systems, in particular, are prone to breakages, because any key cutting service can duplicate a key and the inaccuracies build up with each copy. That puts a real load on the mechanism.
A Pin Tumbler Restricted System has to be produced by a professional locksmith, who will use a laser cutter and the original master key. So, if you’re going this route, make sure you opt for the more professional Pin Tumbler Restricted Master Key System as it will save issues down the line.
You should also ensure that your chosen lock has anti-wear materials inside. These include Teflon-coated springs, as well as stainless steel and nickel components that won’t corrode and create weak points.
You can also get a Master Key System that uses bars and sliders with integral cut-outs, rather than pins and master pins. A high-quality option like the EVA-EPPS system will cost you more initially, but will repay that initial investment many times over with reduced maintenance costs as there is a much smaller chance of this system jamming up.
The sad fact is that if one key is lost, the whole Master Key System is compromised as a stranger can open all your communal doors. For any business, apartment block or even hotel, that’s a big no-no.
With pins, there is no way to remove just one key from the system; there are just too many. Even if you change the lock to one apartment, it’s still open season for your communal areas.
When this happens, you really need to switch the communal keys, which is a huge inconvenience for the other residents or workers.
You could then take the opportunity to upgrade the whole system to a swipe card system, which then eliminates the problem as you can delete cards at will. While this is a more secure option, it gets expensive and can set you back up to $2,000 per door.
While there are certainly significant benefits to a Master Key System, there are also disadvantages. To find out whether the Master Key System is the best solution for you, and to get a quote for installation, call Perth’s leading locksmiths.