POSTED BY Jean W | Mar, 23, 2017 |

Master Key Systems

Maintaining proper security in a building that consists of a large number of rooms requires a sophisticated security plan to ensure that access to specific rooms is only available to authorized personnel.

Any large building with many doors is bound to contain an equal or greater number of locks. There will always be rooms that you will wish to have open to the majority of personnel, such as bathrooms, break rooms, and office areas. However, you will also want other rooms to be accessible only to specifically authorized personnel.

Since it would be completely insecure to have one key that opens all of the locks and extremely impractical to have a separate key for every separate lock in the building, a more elegant solution is required to strike a happy medium. That’s where master key systems come into play.

key types

What Is A Master Key System?

A master key system is the ideal way to provide maximum security combined with maximum convenience when securing large buildings with many rooms that require various levels of security clearance.
It is a well-planned system of locks with corresponding keys that are able to open one or more of these locks in the building depending on the level of clearance the key-bearer has. Each key has a certain security level that allows it to open locks of that level or lower.

For example, you could provide your manager with a key that opens any lock in the building while providing lower-level employees with keys that only open the bathroom and storage areas.

There are numerous similar combinations that can be achieved to create a security plan that ensures that only the people you want to have access to a given room will have it while still allowing other people access to areas essential to their jobs.

Here is an example of a relatively simple grand master key system you might find in a hotel setting:

Master key systems

Types Of Master Key Systems

Master key systems can be broken down into five levels of complexity:

Level 1:
Keyed Alike
Systems (KA)

This is a system where a number of locks are operated by a single key.

Level 2:
Master Key
System (MK)

These systems are used when there are a number of locks, each with their own key and an additional key that is able to open all of the locks, called a master key. This system allows holders of individual keys to open locks they are authorized to open and allows those in charge to open any of the locks in the system.

Level 3:
Grand Master Key System (GMK)

This is a more complex version of the level 2 master key system that groups master key access chains under another, higher-level grand master key that is able to open any lock in either chain. This allows for authorization to open individual locks, all locks in a group, or all locks in all groups.

Level 4:
Great Grandmaster Key System (GGMK)

This system groups multiple grandmaster key systems under an even higher-tiered great grandmaster key that allows access to all of the grandmaster key groups contained in the system. This is a more complex version of the grandmaster key system with an added hierarchical security tier.

Level 5:
Great Great Grandmaster Key System (GGMK)

This extremely complex system adds yet another hierarchical tier to the level-4 systems and groups multiple great grandmaster key systems under a great great grandmaster key that is able to open all locks in each group under it.

These systems are so intricate that they are very rarely constructed.

What Are The Benefits Of A Master Key System?

You can control access throughout an entire building, allowing only authorized personnel to enter areas where they are allowed.

Fewer keys to keep track of means less chance of having your security compromised by lost or stolen keys and it is easier to know who has which keys and when they have them.
You can change the locks without changing the master key. If a master key is lost or stolen, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to rekey the locks.

You can inexpensively achieve an elegant balance between security and convenience.

Who Benefits The Most From Master Key Systems?

  • Landlords, Property Managers, And Apartment Complexes: Having only a few keys for multiple dwellings, rooms, or properties increases the efficiency of any property-based business.

  • Cleaning And Maintenance Services: Having a master key system in place for your cleaning and maintenance crew will allow you to hand out fewer keys and increase the efficiency of your crew by allowing access to rooms with only a single key.This makes master key systems essential to businesses such as hotels, rental homes, and lodges where there are always cleaning staff coming and going from location to location.

  • Office Block Owners: Master key systems are especially useful for buildings that house multiple companies because it allows access to an area occupied by company A while denying access to the same area to company B and so on.

  • Security Guards: Master key systems allow security guards to avoid having to switch between and sort through multiple keys while going about their duties. It also allows them quick and easy access to a location in the event of an emergency response.

Which Types Of Buildings Are Best Suited To Master Key Systems?

Broadway Lock & Key ​

Are You Interested In A Master Key System?

If you think you would benefit from the installation of a master key system in your building, Broadway Lock And Key’s master locksmiths have the knowledge and experience required to design a tailor-made system to suit your needs. Contact us today for your free consultation and estimate or to learn more about this convenient security solution.