The Importance of Site Surveys (And Take Our Quiz)

Although I’ve known many locksmiths who based proposals on information gleaned during a phone call placed by the client, a properly conducted site survey is recommended if your goal is a substantial sale and a good outcome.

Not every caller is ready to make a purchase, or you shouldn’t leap into the truck and perform a survey. Performing surveys is expensive; costing gas and man hours, and may best be not left to someone not adequately qualified and oriented.

As an example: Billy Joe is great at rekeys but knows very little about designing a system, running wires and labor estimating. His cousin Bobby Joe is knowledgeable about locks and exit devices, but he would rather talk the client out of replacing a defective item than spend several hours rebuilding the one that’s there. If you send these types of guys out, do not expect a sale or a good outcome.

Doing surveys enables you to see the premises firsthand. I’ve won a lot of business by simply showing up and showing an interest in the client’s problem. The public resents indifferent and under-qualified service and welcomes skilled and motivated vendors. Be one.

Your best customers are the repeat ones who represent a source of recurring revenue, referrals and feedback. Many times an unhappy customer will not present an opportunity for you to fix a relationship. Successful locksmiths are proactive about customer service and customer satisfaction.

If you are experienced at speaking to prospects, you will often be able to assess the caller and make an educated guess as to the best way to proceed. You do not need a site survey to quote a re-key or install a deadbolt. You send a well-trained technician out there, and train them to do a good job, and also encourage that technician to be vigilant of possible opportunities to assist the client with more products and services than was the immediate task.

When a site survey is needed, meet the client and make that all-important first impression. Evaluate the site as thoroughly as possible and take note and with permission, snapshots.


Fire Door Inspection Punchlist

Recent changes to NFPA 80 have created motivations and opportunities for inspection and repair of Fire Door Assemblies. Fire doors, also referred to as labeled doors, are engineered systems which are critical building elements. Since locks are typically on doors and locksmiths generally are involved with locks, fire doors are within their purview.

A number of certification programs offer training about fire doors and provide you with a credential. The basis of the training is NFPA 80: Standard For Fire Doors And Other Opening Protectives. This standard regulates the installation and maintenance of assemblies and devices used to protect openings in walls, floors, and ceilings against the spread of fire and smoke within, into, or out of buildings and addresses general requirements and provisions for care and maintenance of fire doors and other opening protectives.

NFPA 80 states that “inspections be performed by individuals with knowledge and understanding of the operating components of the type of door being subject to testing.” Most issues detected during an inspection can be addressed by locksmiths and security professionals.

Here is a punchlist used for the inspection of fire doors ( Swinging Doors with Builders Hardware will be inspected to verify the following:

1. No open holes or breaks exist in surfaces of either the door or frame.

Holes may be caused by any number of reasons, including removal of old hardware. If the door is warped, creased, or has gashes, it probably will not pass. Body filler is not a code compliant repair material. Steel fasteners or plates welded over the holes, or filling the holes with the same material as the door, is acceptable.

2. Glazing, vision light frames, and glazing beads are intact and securely fastened in place, if so equipped.

Glazing must be a labeled glass light kit and be properly installed as per manufacturer’s instructions. Like fire door labels, each glazing kit will have a label indicating its intended use and ratings.

3. The door, frame, hinges, hardware and non-combustible threshold are secured, aligned, and in working order with no visible signs of damage.

Most components of a fire door assembly are required to be listed or labeled. The label itself may be made of metal, paper, or plastics, or may be stamped or die cast into the item. If labels are missing or illegible, the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (LAHJ) may have to be consulted.

Hinges must be ball bearing type or may employ other antifriction bearing surfaces in accordance with ANSI/BHMA A156.1 – Standard for Butts and Hinges but do not require individual labels.

4. No parts are missing or broken.

It is critical that correctly rated hardware is used for repair of fire door assemblies, completed “without delay.”

5. Door clearances at the door edge to the frame, on the pull side of the door, may not exceed clearances listed in 4.8.4 and 6.3.1.

The maximum clearance between the bottom of a fire door and the top of the finished floor or threshold is 3/4”. Clearances at the perimeter and between the meeting stiles of pairs are measured on the pull side face of the door. Wood doors must not exceed 1/8”. Hollow metal doors must be 1/16”to 3/16”.

6. Self-closing doors shall swing easily and freely and shall be equipped with a closing device to cause the door to close and latch each time it is opened. (NFPA80-2010

Spring hinges are also permitted but the test is performed with the door open 30 degrees (NFPA80-2010 A6.4.1.4)

In NFPA 80, door operation is divided into 3 categories:

1) Self-Closing Doors – Normally closed door which opens then closes and relatches each time it is used.

2) Automatic Closing Doors – Fire Doors which are held open with labeled fail-safe hold-open devices which release upon alarm and allow the door to close.

3) Power-Operated Fire Doors – Fire Doors equipped with automatic operators. Must be installed so that power to the automatic operator is cut when the fire alarm is actuated allowing the door to close and latch.

Fire doors are not required to meet the opening force requirements set forth by ADA.

7. If a coordinator is installed, the inactive leaf closes before the active leaf.

8. Latching hardware operates and secures the door when the door is in the closed position.

9. Auxiliary hardware items, which interfere or prohibit operation, are not installed on the door and frame.

Common “Auxiliary items” include door stops, and chains.

10. No field modifications to the door assembly have been performed that void the label.

Retrofits and alterations to fire doors and frames are limited by NFPA 80. If an electric strike installation requires cutting into the face of the frame, it has probably breached this requirement. The strike manufacturer can provide further support. Use this knowledge when you are specifying your own installations.

11. Gasketing and edge seals, where required, are inspected to verify their presence and integrity.

LAHJs may not have the necessary knowledge – or, more importantly, the time – to perform these inspections. They have their hands full inspecting all of the other building systems and components.

This is why the revision to NFPA 80 in 2007 is significant, as it enables building owners and others to supplement the inspection process to help assure that fire doors are kept in proper working order.

While NFPA 80 does not designate a specific group or groups to perform these inspections, the Foundation for Life Safety and Security and the Door and Hardware Institute have developed an online course which enables individual to obtain FDAI (Fire Door Assembly Inspector) training and certification.

In some cases the LAHJ may agree to what is referred to as a Performance Based Option for Fire Door Inspection.


Schlage Master Key Premise Survey

It is always a good idea to survey the job site (as well as study the blueprints) of any significantly large master key system which you are planning.

Rather than recording all this information in two steps (rough notes on your first walk-through, then a finished hardware schedule), consider a concept referred to as the Master Key Premise Survey. Note that your final copy is also the same form on which you record the initial data.

This paper should have a formal heading. We offer the following suggestion as nothing more than a guideline by which you can develop your own format.

1) Date

2) Job name

3) Job location

4) Job phone number

5) Personal contact (It must be someone in authority who is empowered to make a decision concerning something as important as a master key system!)

The master key survey form itself should include (at the very least) the following information:

1) Lock cylinder location

2) Quantity of cylinders to be:

A. Furnished

B. Installed

C. Repinned

3) The brand/model of the cylinders

4) The finish used on the hardware

5) The handing of the various locksets (where applicable)

6) Backset measurement

7) Quantity of keys per lock (as well as master keys)

8) Key bitting reference number (this allows you to go from specific bitting information to the corresponding lock, and vice-versa, in a matter of moments)

9) Specific remarks about individual locks (where applicable)

More Information:


“SAVI” Lockdown Survey

Napco’s SAVI™ Security Access-Control Vulnerability Index™ was created for security professionals to use as an objective, brand agnostic audit tool to valuate any school’s access control vulnerability. You simply survey existing security, and SAVI automatically calculates a score for them now. Then you use that to create a plan of actionable next-steps to improve their security and SAVI score, ranging from adding ballistic glass or better gates, to classroom intruder- or standalone digital locks with lockdown function or keyfobs.

Training is also available.To become a certified SAVI professional and make a positive impact in the educational market, email

NAPCO provides a punchlist which can be used to assess a school’s profile with respect to measures in place to discourage or prevent unauthorized entries.

Exterior Protection

  • Impenetrable or bullet-proof glass front perimeter door
  • Front perimeter entrance equipped with wired electronic access control system with electric strike lock - lock-down capable
  • All perimeter doors equipped with door position switch ( to prevent propping open) which can be centrally monitored
  • Anti-scalable exterior fences and locked gates. One entryway into main entrance.
  • Ballistic plastic window glazing on all perimeter doors
  • School hours video intercom system to grant access
  • High security door locks on all exterior doors, preventing key duplication

Interior Protection

  • Vestibule with two access points
  • Guard / personnel manned ID verification/ visitor management
  • Administrative office panic alarm - central station or police monitored
  • Ability to “Go Live” to monitor hallway activity with video cameras
  • Blinds on windows/doors to block potential active shooter’s view

Interior Locking

  • Lockable door locks on all classrooms
  • Intruder locks on all classrooms, capable of being locked-down from the inside
  • Electronic door locks on all classrooms, capable of being locked-down from the inside protected room
  • Electronic door locks on all classrooms, capable of being locked-down by authorized personnel from anywhere in the classroom- Wireless Button
  • Wireless electronic locks on all classrooms, capable of all being locked-down globally from administrative offices and/or any authorized teacher/personnel, at any lock.


Securitron Resources

SECURITRON has several powerful resources available to assist in your surveys, and design/ specification of electronic door controls. These include:

Door Control Wizard with Smartphone Application - Build and save UL approved door control systems by individual door, by groups of doors or by the entire job. Advanced editing functions allow for saved doors/jobs to be changed at any time. View Data Sheets, Instructions, Images and view the Installation Sequence.

Magnalock Bracket Wizard - Mounting brackets play a critical role in door system configuration. Quickly identify exactly which brackets are needed to safely and securely mount Securitron Magnalocks on any door/frame combination. Choose Door Type, Frame Configuration and specify a few measurements.

Wiring Diagram Wizard - Do you need a single page wiring diagram that represents all of the door system’s components and connections? This useful tool will generate an accurate diagram for any combination of products selected by the Door Control or Gate Control Wizard. Choose from Free Egress Systems, Delayed Egress Systems and Gate Systems.

Quick Product Selector - Access Securitron’s complete product line by category or part number. Selected products and their respective quantities are fully editable. Save your selection lists for simplified order fulfillment at your favorite Securitron supplier.

For more information, email or visit and open the literature request form. The direct url is

Securitron’s AHJ Handbook was originally intended to be distributed to AHJs to educate them on the many electric locking and life safety products offered by Securitron. It is an excellent training tool and also valuable during site surveys and presentations. Download it in pdf form at


Medeco Site Survey Wizard

Medeco’s Site Survey Wizard is a mobile application (app) that is powered by the iOS and Android software platforms for smart phones and tablets. No matter which device is used in the field to do a survey, an iPhone, iPad or Android, any of these devices can be used to document projects. The Site Survey Wizard app is free of charge and is available from the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore.

Benefits of the Medeco Site Survey Wizard are a streamlined site survey process and increased productivity in the field and office.

In a typical site survey, capturing door hardware data and keying details is documented manually with pen and paper. Sometimes, a voice recorder is used to capture the survey information. Either way, the written or recorded data must be formatted into an electronic format that can be imported into an internal system for processing, or formatted in a way that makes the order crystal clear to the Wholesaler or Manufacturer. Imagine if all that data entry could be done without doing double work (once at the door, secondly at the computer).

The Site Survey Wizard app takes keying data collected from the survey and produces it in an organized format that can be easily understood by staff and wholesalers or manufacturers. Producing keying data in an organized format helps the factory understand what the exact keying needs are. A clear understanding of keying needs speeds up the design process, leading to faster order turnaround, and meeting the original delivery expectations of your customer, enhancing their overall experience.