A Day In The Life Of An Institutional Locksmith

We interview a government locksmith responsible for 15,000 doors. This past year, his four-person staff handled over 800 calls for service, installing or servicing 50 to 100 locks each month

Do you follow a set maintenance schedule or fix on demand?

With 15,000 openings and only four locksmiths, most of our maintenance is on demand. We try to do periodic inspections of high traffic areas and repair/adjust locks as needed.

Which electro-mechanical locks do you use?

For standalone, at this time we use Marks I-Que. For hardwire applications, we use Best, Schlage, and SDC.

What mechanical locks do you like to use?

The SARGENT 11 Line T-Zone cylindrical lock is the best Grade 1 lock I have ever used. We have been using them for almost 6 years now. The only problem we have is a failed latch once in a while.

Do you install and service door closers?

We install LCN 4041 and Norton 7500 door closers. We also have Rixson in-floor closers.

Do you repair/replace doors?

Doors in some work and public areas take a terrific beating, and are replaced as needed.

Do you do install other door hardware?

We install and service Von Duprin, Detex and Adams-Rite electrified panic bars.

Do you install and service power operators?


Do you do
electrical work?

Union electricians do the 110 volt AC and low voltage AC/DC. All electrified locks are ordered with pigtail plugs

How has your job changed over the years?

My job has become much more sophisticated. I have become involved in just about the entire process from spec writing to working with the lock manufacturers.

My predecessor wrote our key control software that tracks every key, every, lock and every opening. All paperwork is scanned into the program for detailed history.

On the lock side, we are now installing and servicing electro-mechanical locks. We program and maintain the electronic access control. I would say that things have changed a lot.

Are you making long range plans for better access control?

I would like to see electrified strikes instead of electrified locks. Electric strikes have come a long way over the last few years. Electric strikes are easier to maintain, repair, replace and install.

Would you recommend the institutional sector for locksmiths?

Definitely, unfortunately, like most of the really good jobs, turnover is very low.

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