top of page
  • Writer's pictureDavid Miller

The Holistic Approach To Good Security

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.

SIWRS The Holistic Approach

Read this article by David Miller M.I.S.(SA). It is useful general security information. Don’t leave it to the Security Contractor – read this article BEFORE you even start thinking about ordering or specifying access control, panic hardware or door hardware!

SIWRS The Holistic Approach
Download PDF • 300KB

Door Closers

People don't close doors - DOOR CLOSERS do! Read why good door closers are essential – both for access control and for fire and emergency exit doors and find out how to specify or choose them based on door-size - NOT weight!

SIWRS Door Closers
Download PDF • 189KB

Electric Locks and Electric Strikers

Electric Locks require (usually 12 volt) power to the lock to release – are the most often used. A lock with a key bypass will allow access even when there is no 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. Usually NOT suitable for fire escapes or emergency exits.

Electric Strikers

These 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). The lock can function totally independently of the striker or of power.

Magnetic Locks

These 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. 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 by reading this article!

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 - without carpentry and without changing the lock-body.

Fire can strike anywhere

DOOR CLOSERS are essential to keep doors closed in the event of fire! Fires do not happen in the right place at a suitable time - and all commercial and public buildings need to be fitted with door closers, fire exit doors and the correct panic hardware.

Understanding Padlocks

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.

Changing Lock Cylinders

Clients frequently ask for a lock cylinder to be changed, because there are too many keys for the existing cylinder.

Hook Bolts for Sliding Doors

Sliding Doors

These 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.

Useful Tip

Mount the hook-bolt 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

These are often 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.

Security Information without Rocket Science:

A series of simple (mostly one or two page) explanations written by David Miller 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.


bottom of page