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High-security locks are defined by various Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Building Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) standards. In most cases, high-security cylinders will be installed in Grade 1 security mortise locks, auxiliary deadbolts, padlocks or multipoint locks.
The most common high-security rating is UL437, which covers locks and cylinders. This category is tested for unauthorized opening from bypass, lock-picking, impressioning and destructive entry. Most major North American manufacturers supply UL437 listed locks and have patented and controlled key distribution available.
ANSI/BHMA A156.5 covers basic cylinders, while A156.25 covers electronic input devices. A156.30 is specific to high-security cylinders but not locks. Finally, A156.37 covers multipoint locks.
An ANSI A156.30 listed high-security cylinder can be used if professional surreptitious attacks are anticipated. This standard defines additional issues of key distribution, electronic inputs or manipulation. The A156.30 standard for high-security cylinders provides this caveat: Lock and door assemblies take the grade of the lowest graded component, including ungraded pieces. This means your installation is only as good as the weakest link, including cylinder, lock and door assembly. Remember this. Black-bag attacks are rare, while brute-force attacks are common.
High-security locks also are prominent in blast- and wind-resistant openings as well as safe rooms.Wind, hurricane and tornado issues are covered in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 320 and 361 guidelines. Testing is defined in International Code Council 500-2014 standards. Assemblies can be tested to sustained wind speeds of up to 250 mph and impacts from a 15-pound projectile at 100 mph, the equivalent of an EF5 tornado. The Florida Building Code (FBC) covers standards for Florida High Velocity Hurricane Zone areas for wind speed and flying objects.
ASTM E330 discusses exterior door assemblies in nonimpact regions for wind-only applications. Allegion’s Schlage and Von Duprin brands, as well as ASSA ABLOY’s Corbin Russwin, SARGENT and Yale companies, provide mortise and reinforced multipoint lock assemblies for these applications. Some of these assemblies also carry various blast-resistant ratings. A comprehensive line of extreme-duty multipoint locks is available from Securitech. These have been tested with doors from most North American manufacturers.
Meanwhile, padlocks are rated for surreptitious entry, cycle testing, cut, corrosion, shock and tensile strength by ASTM F883 from the lowest level 1 through the highest level 6. Note this: A statement that a particular padlock meets ASTM F883 must state which levels were met. Commercial products generally meet level 3 or 4 for corrosion, shackle tensile strength and cut resistance. Extreme service padlocks can test up to level 6 for cut resistance and other categories. The Central European Norm (CEN) standard also has a 1 through 6 rating, which is somewhat similar to ASTM F883 but not directly equivalent.
Padlock designs such as the hockey puck and the Mul-T-Lock Hasp eliminate shackle attacks, and we’re seeing an increasing number of electronic solutions there as well.
Professional security practice provides cost-effective layers that detect, deter and defend against attack. Where are high-security locks appropriate? Two issues drive this answer. Pick- and tamper-resistant cylinders are useful where detection risk is low and asset value is high.
Much of the nation’s critical infrastructure, such as power substations, water supplies, fuel storage, explosives, chemicals, server farms and communications are in remote locations. These locations generally have monitored alarms, but response time might be rather long. Multiple defensive layers can delay the attacker after the initial alarm is sent. Attacks on remote sites tend to use K-12 saws, carbide wheels or brute force, because there seldom is much risk of detection.
Weapons or munitions storage areas always have been solid, if small, market niches. Military organizations have considerably less concern for external key duplication, because they tend to practice good internal key control and recovery after personnel or building occupancy changes.
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