The security industry/insurers/architects/ manufacturers and standards boards have been working on a fool-proof system for some time and it would appear the ‘STAR’ rated system is becoming accepted.

Of course it is not fool-proof, nothing is, the whole system relies on the lowest common denominator, the jobsworth who inspects the door or specifies and the idiot at the hardware shop.

It therefore makes extremely sound sense for Locksmith professionals to have a fair and working knowledge of the system.

However the paperwork runs to dozens of pages and has been written to ease the understanding???

The Fire Protection Association has produced document both for the building occupier and for the Insurers.

If you have the time it would be beneficial to download a copy and perhaps keep in your van.

For the occupier the main theme is ‘Insurer’s expectations are usually outlined in a document/policy condition
typically referred to as a ‘Minimum Security Standard’ (MSS), or a similar term. This will identify the doors and windows that need to be secured at the perimeter of your home and specify the recommended/required security devices. It may also set out when the devices need to be used. ‘

So on advising an occupier it is really essential to view their policy document, remember a court may see you as an expert.

Occupiers replacing doors/windows are also advised to look for certification in the product.

In what I see as a change of tack, is the ability to ‘Unlock’ escape routes.

Any possible conflict between the need to maintain good security whilst still permitting quick emergency escape for occupants, can be minimised by careful selection of security devices—and ensuring that any keys to them are removed and kept securely nearby, ie in a place where they can’t be seen or reached by a person outside your home, e.g. via perimeter glazing or letter flaps.

Occupiers are also warned against unsecure doors and windows while distracted such as in the garden or on the telephone, cooking or other tasks. Further occupiers are warned against locked key boxes outside their property for carers or alarm response companies ‘should never be undertaken without reference to the insurer’.

There is also a small section that MSS is not really intended for shared accommodation, bedsits and HMO ’s, It also does not relate to electronic or code locked doors, and of course outbuildings such as sheds and garages – it is advised to ask the insurer or a locksmith

There is also a warning that each insurer may require differing MSS and may also specify which door or windows should always be locked or secured on leaving a building unoccupied.

Homeowners are also cautioned that while standards move forwards their current ‘approved’ device MUST be upgraded if it requires replacement, also if a product is certificated a lock or cylinder at least EQUAL to that standard must be used in a replacement and again 3* and Sold Secure SS312 Diamond.

There is advice to protecting keys – when moving into a property even if for the first occupation change the locks. Inside the house keep them in a safe place easy to access in an emergency or seems to suggest a locked out of sight cabinet to prevent keys being stolen by fishing or breaking glass.

There is a 10 point guide for householders.

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