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Selection of three new door locks and hardware for commercial use.

Understanding Commercial Lock Grades

It’s no secret; commercial security starts at the main entry points. But even when you invest in high-security hardware and locks, how can you be sure that the office building or business facility is actually secure?

This is why there exists a set of industry standards to verify the quality and specifications of commercial locks used throughout the United States. Commercial lock grades also assist contractors, builders and locksmiths to select the best hardware devices to fit a project. Let’s dive deeper into the national commercial lock grading system.

Who Is Responsible for Commercial Lock Grading?

The BHMA (Builders Home Manufacturers Association) is the official trade association for manufacturers of building hardware. It is the only association accredited by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) to enforce performance standards for commercial locks. The BHMA also helps set industry standards on building codes, fire safety standards and accessibility compliance.

Together, the BHMA and ANSI are responsible for setting the standards for commercial locks. These two entities systematically test and certify hardware products before they can be sold to or installed for customers. Locks with ANSI/BHMA certification can be trusted in terms of quality and security.

What Are the Commercial Lock Grades?

There are three ANSI/BHMA grades which classify and certify commercial hardware by its quality and security level. Each lock is tested and graded according to:

  • Function and application,
  • Strength,
  • Cycles – number of uses a lock will withstand before replacement is needed,
  • Security,
  • Material evaluation, and
  • Finish.

Locks are evaluated in multiple ways. For example, one verification includes applying the same amount of force to turn the key, knob, handle or lever. Then, based on the results, the ANSI/BHMA gives the lock product a grade – 1, 2 or 3.

Grade 1

Only the strongest and most durable commercial locks are placed in the first grade category. Grade 1 locks are considered heavy-duty and provide the greatest level of security. In terms of cycles, this hardware is expected to withstand twice the amount of use as locks under grade 2.

This type of hardware is certified for use on exterior doors and at high-traffic entry points. Grade 1 commercial locks are rated for application on public buildings, schools and educational facilities, healthcare facilities and other large capacity buildings.

Grade 2

Mid-range commercial hardware falls into this level. Grade 2 locks are rated for use on exterior access points for low or medium amounts of traffic. They can also be used on interior doors that require a high degree of security. Grade 2 lock applications include office spaces and the doors to storage rooms containing valuable merchandise, materials or equipment.

Grade 3

Any locks categorized as grade 3 are considered standard level. This hardware is appropriate for light applications. These include supply closets, offices not containing expensive equipment, employee break rooms and other areas that aren’t open to all traffic and only require a low level of security.

Grade 3 door locks are also certified for residential applications.

How Can You Verify the Grade of Commercial Hardware?

If you are wondering what grade your commercial hardware has, just locate the ANSI/BHMA certification number. This can be found on the product information sheet, original packaging, or at the end of the product code. The ANSI/BHMA numbering system also provides information about the material used to make the hardware, product category and appropriate applications for it.

Find more helpful information here: the Benefits of Metal Doors for Commercial Buildings and Understanding Lock Types for Commercial Buildings.

Experienced Commercial Locksmith – GV Lock

Contact Great Valley Lockshop for advice and assistance with commercial doors and hardware. Our certified locksmiths have years of experience working in a wide variety of industries. For supply, installation and servicing, call us today at 610-644-5334 or request a quote.

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