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New Threats and New Lock Standards

The first British Standard for locks to address enhanced security for dwellings was BS 3621, the first edition of which emerged in the 1960s. This standard, with its successors, has resulted in secure and durable locks being available, but the range of applications was limited; only single-point locking was covered and operation was by key from both sides of the external door. The latter point was addressed initially by the addition of BS 8621 in 2004, offering the option of keyless egress for ease of escape. Since then, an increase in the security threat and further developments in lock functions have produced the three standards published in 2007, which are described below.

The BSI committee responsible for lock standards is B/538/4 panel 3, which includes representatives of industry, ACPO/CPI, insurers, test houses and users, including NHBC.

Three serious new threats to domestic security have recently emerged. All are methods of attacking lock cylinders and are techniques used for many years by locksmiths to gain entry to premises. The novel element is the internet, which has made these methods accessible to the opportunist burglar - both in terms of how to carry out the attacks and in terms of obtaining the basic tools.

The first group of attacks involves twisting or breaking the cylinder or removing the plug; they require little skill and only simple tools, such as mole grips, screwdrivers and claw-hammers. The damage caused to the cylinder and surroundings is obvious and the police have been able to confirm the increased use of this technique.

The second type of attack is known as bumping and involves the use of a "bump key" specific to the type of cylinder and it also requires some dexterity. There are normally no signs of forced entry and precise statistics on use of this method are lacking. The bump keys can now be bought on-line and the method can be viewed, ad nauseam, on YouTube. Since it does no damage to the lock, the technique can also easily be practised and has potentially even more serious implications for the insurance industry!

New Standards - Single Point Locks

All three forms of attack can now be defeated by specifying cylinder driven single-point locks to the latest edition (2007) of the following standards:




BS 3621:2007 (key egress)

Locked by key from both sides

Provided that the key is removed, this type of lock is secure against operation by intruders reaching through a letter-plate, breaking nearby glazing etc. Best used where emergency escape is not required or where other means of escape exist and where security is paramount.

BS 8621:2007(keyless egress)

Locked by key from outside only; can always be opened from the inside without a key eg via a thumb turn or lever.

This type of lock offers emergency escape without a key at all times. Best used where there is no danger of the inside handle or thumb-turn being operated from the outside by, for instance, breaking a glazed panel, reaching through a letter plate etc and where safety is critical (eg in flats)

BS 10621:2007 (dual mode)

Locked by key from outside only; can be opened from inside without a key EXCEPT when this function has been disabled by a positive key operation from the outside.

Combines ease of escape in emergency with an additional security feature for use ONLY when leaving the premises unoccupied. Best used where an alternative means of escape exists. BS 10621 offers:

  1. security and safety
  2. protection of properties when vacant

In common with other specific cylinder attack methods, bumping cannot be used against five-lever locks. Consequently, a five-lever lock to the 2004 editions of BS 3621 or 8621 remains acceptable.

New Standards - Complete Doorsets

PAS 24: 2007 provides the same level of protection against the 3 types of cylinder attack above.

Consequently, a five-lever lock to the 2004 editions of BS 3621 or 8621 remains acceptable.
In common with other specific cylinder attack methods, bumping cannot be used against five-lever locks.

New Standards - Multi-point Locks

The existing BS 3621 series of standards only covers single point locks.  Currently, multipoint locks can only be tested as part of a complete doorset assembly to PAS 24:2007. Since multi-point locks are increasingly being fitted to external doors of new and refurbished dwellings (up to 70 - 80%), a new series of standards specifically for multi-point locks are being developed:

PAS 3621-2:2009 - Multi-point locks - Key egress
PAS 8621-2:2009 - Multi-point locks - Keyless egress
PAS 10621-2:2009 - Multi-point locks - Dual mode

In each case the document number and the function are related exactly as for single-point locks.

These standards will be in place by the Spring of 2009.

New Standards Summary

A new suite of standards will therefore be available, all of which will be kitemarked:




BS 3621:2007
BS 8621:2007

Single point locking

Secured by Design

PAS 24:2007

Doorsets (multi-point locking primarily)

Secured by Design

PAS 3621-2:2009
PAS 8621-2:2009
PAS 10621-2:2009

Multipoint locking

Secured by Design

The advantages of this suited approach are:

  • they cover single point locking, door sets and shortly multi-point locking
  • they meet a variety of applications flats, apartments, traditional house types}
  • they offer security and safety where the application requires
  • kitemarking is widely understood and accepted by the public as a performance mark


The new standards are supported by industry, ACPO/CPI, and the Home Office and the house building industry. Support is also being sought from the insurance industry through IPCRes and other committees.

The NHBC will be adopting these new standards in a three phase approach:

1. Winter 2008 - issue a recommendation to NHBC housebuilders to adopt the latest standards:

- BS 3621/8621/10621:2007
- PAS 24:2007

2. Spring 2009 - include the latest standards in the 2009 NHBC guidelines:

- BS 3621/8621/10621:2007
- PAS 24:2007

3. PAS 3621/8621/10621-2:2009 it is planned will be adopted when published later in 2009 and will be included in the 2010 NHBC guidelines.

What to Look Out For

Single point locking: cylinder kitemarked lock cases to BS 3621:2007, BS 8621:2007, BS10621:2007 which will now include a kitemarked cylinder to BS1303 (lever lock cases, not vulnerable to the "bumping" form of attack can be to the 2004 edition of the above standards)

Whole doors: PAS 24:2007 for the door (typically this will include a multipoint lock, a kitemarked cylinder to BS 1303 and armoured door furniture - all to Secured by Design approval)

Multipoint locking: as from Spring 2009 PAS 3621-2:2009, PAS 8621-2:2009, PAS 10621-2:2009 will be in place. These new standards will also be adopted by Secured by Design in their guidelines.
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