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Case Studies

Canary Wharf development

At a current mixed use development across 32 buildings in Canary Wharf, the co-ordinating of the developer’s key control with design, manufacturing and coordination across all buildings fell to Elite Architectural Ironmongery, a specifier and supplier of architectural ironmongery to projects, in the UK and overseas, for almost 50 years. Working with Locking Systems, part of UAP Ltd, and a locking cylinder and bespoke masterkeying specialist, Elite has supplied Secure by Design approved TS007 3* security rated locks for the project. So far, the locks have been installed in six buildings, with installation at a further two in progress.

Work on the key control strategy began long before the locks were required on site, and demanded work between the client, Elite and Locking Systems.

Developing the specification

The new buildings combine commercial office space, ground floor retail and luxury apartments, some of which will be privately owned. For management and maintenance of the building, all areas of the buildings that remain the property of the landlord need to be fitted with a bespoke lock for the security and convenience of the occupier, while allowing landlord access with the use of a master key. A number of maintenance locations that must remain locked for safety reasons, while remaining accessible to authorised staff with a master key. The aim was to minimise the number of master keys required to ensure simplicity of legacy management without compromising security. In this way, repairs and maintenance inspections can be carried out efficiently.

The client’s requirement was for ten keyed alike groups across all buildings, categorised for the type of access requirement, such as lift motor rooms, mechanical risers, electrical risers and roof access. This will enable maintenance personnel to carry just one key to access all the required areas across any of the buildings. There will also be a single master key for each building, which will operate all maintenance locks and rented residential or commercial units within the specific building. Finally, a grandmaster key will operate any lock across any of the 32 buildings.

Steve May from Elite Architectural Ironmongery says: “The goal is to make the key control hierarchy as simple and convenient as possible for the building owner, allowing maintenance teams to quickly identify which master key they need and providing a grandmaster key as an added secure access measure. Our fully Guild of Architectural Ironmongery (GAI) qualified staff attended site meetings to discuss the locking strategy and scrutinise the architectural drawings during the build phase. By understanding the general arrangement plans, door schedules, door elevations and specifications, we were able to develop a full specification, allocating each door to a keyed alike group and/or master key.”

The specification process involved understanding the door schedule to ensure the size and type of each lock is correct. Elite also had to ensure that that any offsetting requirements for installation of the locks were factored into the design process. A master chart was then devised for each building and Elite was able to pass this information to Locking Systems for design and manufacture of the locks


The buildings are being constructed in a phased project and the locks are being made at Locking Systems’ Gateshead factory for installation aligned to the build. The design process needed to be carried out for all locks, keys and master keys as a single project, however, to ensure the keyed alike groups and master keying solutions incorporate every lock included in the schedule for correct and accurate installation by the multiple contractors. Locking Systems inputted the information from Elite’s specification into the company’s highly advanced software system to produce a detailed design and production schedule.

General manager of Locking Systems, Bill Murray says: “The software accurately designs each lock and its unique key, while ensuring that the lock can also be opened by the relevant master keys in the hierarchy. Achieving this across 32 buildings with a grandmaster key is extremely complex but our experience means that we have the in-house capabilities to achieve a multi-tiered hierarchy like this.”

All locks manufactured by Locking Systems to Elite’s requirements meet all the necessary European-ANSI standards, comply with fire ratings and are suitable for installation in PAS24 doorsets. Each lock is supplied with a key patented to 2032, which adds to security because it prevents duplicate keys from being cut by anyone other than UAP.

With a variety of joinery subcontractors installing the locks across multiple buildings, accuracy of lock and key manufacture are critical to the project. Locking Systems’ manufacturing process includes hand-pinning of every lock to ensure that it will open smoothly with its bespoke key and with the keyed alike group key, building master key and grandmaster key. The precision of hand-pinning also delivers a smooth operation throughout the lifespan of each lock.

Bill Murray adds: “Manufacturing the keys and lock cylinders by machine provides the consistency and accuracy needed for the project but we believe the precision required for the pins can only be achieved by hand. Every detail of every lock and key for the project is now securely stored on our database, ensuring we can provide reliable information for any future maintenance, refurbishment or retrofitting requirements.”



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