A British Standard is something that sets a benchmark for quality in goods and services. These standards are set by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

You’ll often see what is called the BSI KitemarkTM on anything from vehicles to financial products: it is something that has been around for many years and is well known as a sign of reassurance.

Another mark you might come across is the ‘EN’ mark. This standards for European Norm and is a standard that outlines rules, guidelines or characteristics that are demanded of systems, services or products.

A sign of consistent quality and safety

Any industry that works to a common standard or benchmark such as BS or EN will be able to offer consistent quality as well as ensure safety.

When you are looking at fitting new locks, either in your home or for your business premises, you will come across two standards.

Firstly, BS 3621. This British Standard relates to thief-resistant locks. Secondly, EN 1303:2005. This is a European Norm that sets a standard for lock cylinders. Together, the two form the minimum performance benchmark for locks and cylinders on entrance or external doors. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the police consider this combination the minimum level of security acceptable.

Insurance approved locks

You may have heard that without locks that conform to these standards, your home insurance will be invalid. It is true that many insurers do insist on British Standard mortice locks and EN cylinders, and others offer a discount if they are present, although this could depend on the location of the doors. You should check your particular insurance policy to see if there is a warranty stating you must have certain locks fitted. Do bear in mind though that insurance companies stipulate certain requirements for a reason. So not only could you benefit from a discounted policy by installing an approved lock, you may also be able to enjoy a higher degree of security.

Something else to bear in mind is the fact that locks and cylinders aren’t the be-all and end-all of your security. The effectiveness of a lock depends on several factors. Firstly there is the quality of the door and its frame, as well as door hardware. And then you have the question of how the lock was fitted. If not by an accredited professional, it may not function as intended.

Three rules for buying new locks

So there are three key rules to follow when choosing new locks. One: check for BS Kitemarks and EN markings. Two: make sure your doors, frames and door hardware are of sound quality, and preferably comply with British Standards and European Norms too. And three: have your locks (and preferably doors) fitted by a security professional who carries accreditations such as Master Locksmith Association approval.

Barry Bros Security holds the above accreditation, as well as numerous other industry certifications and memberships. For expert advice on choosing the best locks for your doors at home or in the workplace, please get in touch or call into our London showroom.