Making The Grade: The Difference Between Grade 4 and Grade 5 of BS 8607

For the benefit of Risk Xtra’s readers, Craig Birch outlines what the new Grade 5 for BS 8607 (focused on Mechanically Operated Push-Button Locksets) includes, why it has been introduced and the benefits that it can help deliver for host organisations.

At present, mechanically operated push-button locksets are not typically security products, but rather access control ones. For example, think about the last time you went to your local doctor’s surgery. No doubt there will have been a lock on the door behind the receptionist, protecting the sensitive information held on file – a demand that has become only more critical with the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

However, the truth is that the lock protecting the restricted area in question is probably little more than a tubular latch. Essentially, it’s not a security device, but rather one that’s used for convenience to simply meet the access control needs of a specific site.

However, BS 8607 – the British Standard for mechanically operated push-button locksets – offers a series of grades that these locks can meet for strength and robustness. Introduced only recently, Grade 5 is the newest and most stringent level for delivering assured security and access control. What does it offer that Grade 4 doesn’t?

BS 8607 in detail

The British Standards Institution (BSI) states that BS 8607:2014 specifies the requirements and test methods for durability, strength and function for mechanically operated push-button locksets and their locking plates for use on doors, windows and entrance doors in buildings.

Both Grade 4 and Grade 5 of BS 8607 stipulate that products meeting these standards must be suitable for ‘applications where security, abuse and usage levels are expected to be equivalent to BS 3621’, which relates to thief-resistant locks, but if the security, abuse and usage levels are the same, what then is the difference between the two grades?

Put simply, those rated as Grade 4 can only achieve this standard with the help of an integral additional locking unit. So, with a Grade 4 product, end users must lock and unlock the solution from the inside with a key and then operate the push-button from the outside to unlock a door.

In contrast, a mechanically operated push-button lockset that meets Grade 5 standards provides a ‘one-stop’ security and access control solution; one that doesn’t require a separate locking unit. In short, with a Grade 5 product the latch and lock are integrated and tested together without the need for an additional key. The end result is a solution that offers keyless egress. This means that, when it shuts, a Grade 5 solution automatically locks. Then, should you need to exit a room, it’s simply a one handle operation to unlock the door.

While it’s intended that both Grade 4 and Grade 5 devices offer the same resistance to attack and it’s simply the way it’s locked that’s different, the fact that a user has to physically lock a door themselves with a Grade 4 product means the technology is reliant on key holders to secure the premises themselves.

Ultimately, users have to take responsibility and ownership for the security of a site. With a Grade 5 solution, though, security is assured as the door will lock automatically.

Why the need for Grade 5?

Essentially, Grade 5 has been introduced because it provides a BSI Kitemark approved certification. This means any mechanically operated push-button locksets advertised as meeting Grade 5 standards will be fully tested and inspected to this certification, offering complete peace of mind to end users, installers and specifiers alike.

As a result, there’s no question that a Grade 5 product will meet the security and access control needs that so many commercial environments demand. A Grade 4 product is reliant on an additional locking unit that meets BS 3621 being used too, whereas a Grade 5 solution delivers assured protection and access control in a single package.

Finally, the BSI Kitemark for a Grade 5 solution is an official stamp of approval for the quality of the service offered.

To date, it’s this combination of security and convenience that hasn’t yet been seen in mechanically operated push-button devices. Grade 5 of BS 8607 looks set to change that situation.

Craig Birch is Product Category Manager at UNION

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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