The Holistic Approach.

In order to achieve good security, certain building blocks must be in place.  Good doors in sturdy well-fitted frames, good hinges and door closers, good locks and Fire-Rated Panic Hardware are an essential part of the plan.  These CANNOT be replaced by electronics or CCTV – unless you are planning to watch and record the death or injury of your people or the removal of your assets through doors that don’t close and lock properly!

Signing a contract with a security company will not relieve you of YOUR responsibility in terms of OSHA, SANS 10-400T, National Building Regulations, the Consumer Protection Act etc.  Consult suitably qualified or experienced people, find out what you need to do, issue strict instructions for compliance, and FOLLOW UP to be sure your property is compliant!  Delegation will not relieve you of your responsibility.

Click here to read the full version:  SIWRS The Holistic Approach – an article by David Miller M.I.S.(SA). It is useful general security information.  Don’t leave it to the Security Contractor – read the above article BEFORE you even start thinking about ordering or specifying access control, panic hardware or door hardware!

Security Information without Rocket Science:

A series of simple (mostly one-two page) explanations written by David Miller CPP M.I.S.(SA) to encourage users to look for the right article for their needs rather than to search the internet for a pretty picture.

Door Closers
Click on the link above to read why good door closers are essential – both for access control and for fire and emergency exit doors

Electric Locks and Electric Strikers
on the link above to read more.  Electric Locks require (usually 12 volt) power to the lock to release – are the most often used.  A lock with key bypass will allow access without the need for power.  Various levels of High Security keys can be specified for these locks, depending on the brand. In the absence of power a key must be used.  NOT suitable for fire escapes or emergency exits.

Access Control Hardware – click to see a range of  good quality branded options for the electric release of doors.  Both electric locks and electric strikers are included in this mini-catalogue

Electric strikers usually remain locked in the absence of power and are used with a mechanical mortice lock, which functions independently of the striker or of power.  Low voltage power goes to the door frame – neater and often easier to install.  Arguably the best of both worlds – electric release with mechanical locking.  The lock can be opened with a key (High Security Keys can be specified) or by handle or via a panic bar (in the case of emergency exit doors). It can function totally independently of the striker or of power.  Read Mortice-latch locks and strikers for more information.

Magnetic Locks are strong electromagnets.  Often used as a lower cost option and by people who do not understand or cannot fit locks – ‘mag locks’ do not function at all in the absence of power!  They cannot be used on any fire or emergency exit unless they are connected to an approved Fire Detection system which will release the magnet (and hence the door) when a fire is detected.  Read Magnetic locks pros and cons for more information.  Note that break-glass boxes are not acceptable on any fire or emergency exit.

Lock fault-finding
Some simple tests you can do yourself to establish the cause of locks or doors not opening or closing correctly. You may save the cost of a callout!  Click here to read Lock fault-finding.

Cylinder locks
Cylinder locks have advantages over lever locks – the most important of which is the fact that the keys for most lever locks can be bought over the counter by quoting the number stamped on the key,  Whilst this is less true of the better brands of 5 and 6 lever locks – the price of these better lever locks will buy a good quality cylinder lock. Cylinder locks allow management to change cylinders whenever a key is lost or stolen, and to change the master-keying system as staff or the needs of the business change. To find out the advantage of cylinder locks – click Cylinder locks – the preferred choice.

Fire can strike anywhere
Fires do not happen in the right place at a suitable time.  Click here to read more.

Understanding Padlocks
Click on the link above to understand how to specify and order padlock. Most common brass padlocks can be easily cut and should never be used on any external application unless they are very heavy and robust, and hung on very suitable heavy hardware to deter the use of bolt cutters.

Making lock cylinders to old keys
Clients frequently ask for a new lock cylinder or padlock to be made to an existing key sample. Click here to read more.

Changing Lock Cylinders
Clients frequently ask for a lock cylinder to be changed, because there are too many keys for the existing cylinder. Click here to read more.


Sliding doors require a very different approach to hinged doors – a normal lock with a sliding bolt cannot work.  Claw bolt and wing-bolt locks were used in the past – but their small locking bolts no longer deter thieves who use heavy tools.  Hence we need to use a hookbolt which can prevent the door from sliding.  Click on Hookbolt-locks-for Sliding Doors to see them.  A useful tip – mount the lock upside-down so that when an attempt is made to lift the door off it’s track (the most common method of burglars) the hook-bolt is simply locked further into the striker plate. Always be sure to fit the striking plate that is supplied with the lock. Aluminium or timber door frames are not hard enough to prevent the hook-bolt from tearing it’s way out of the frame when the door is forced with a crowbar.  If you E-mail pictures and measurements of your lock to we will endeavour to advise you.