Published On: Thu, Jul 21st, 2022

UAP unlocks operational simplicity for college

The Manchester College is one of the largest further education college in the UK, with nine locations across central Manchester, south Manchester and north & east Manchester. The latest addition to the college is a £25 m teaching facility at the Openshaw campus in East Manchester. Constructed by Caddick Construction, the new facility has created specialist facilities for healthcare and sport, construction and motor vehicle teaching in Openshaw. The building includes a six court sports hall, outdoor pitch, gym and sports lab, along with a health suite with a hospital ward and infectious disease area. It also includes workshops for construction, mechanics and engineering students. 

Some of the learning areas are multi-use classrooms, which need to be accessed by members of staff from different departments, while other areas will be specific to a particular department with access restricted to members of that departmental team only. All areas of the building needed to be accessible for maintenance and management teams. To aid both security and convenience, the college was keen to implement a locking strategy that is both secure and simple to operate for all members of staff. A critical part of the brief for Sheffield-based architectural ironmongery specialist Sapphire Hardware was that the chosen locking system should provide patented keys that cannot be re-cut on the high street, thereby ensuring any duplicates are authorised and any lost or stolen keys are reported.

The goal for the locking strategy was to enable each keyholder to open all doors for which they have authorised access with a single key. This created the need for an intricate locking hierarchy with multiple variations in individual keys and masterkeys. The college also wanted Caddick Construction and Sapphire Hardware to consider how project delivery at the new building in Openshaw could be part of a wider rollout of the locking hierarchy as other buildings in the campus network are built or refurbished.

Working collaboratively with the college and the construction contractor, Sapphire developed a locking hierarchy that enables all locks to be opened by a grandmaster key, with 12 submaster keys providing access to specific locations for teaching, maintenance, admin and cleaning staff. Once this had been agreed with the college, UAP Locking Systems custom-manufactured each cylinder and key, including the hand-pinning of all cylinders for accuracy, and provision of two keys for each lock.

“As some locations serve multiple departments,” explains Bill Murray from UAP Locking Systems, “some locks need to be opened by more than one submaster key. UAP Locking Systems manufactured a total of 20 key types, aligned to the access protocols provided by the college and the schedule developed by Sapphire Hardware.”

For some doors, there are two locks as an additional layer of security and all classrooms have been fitted with a thumbturn to enable fast and easy locking from inside. This was part of the client’s brief, in order to deliver an additional lone working security measure for any staff staying after normal teaching hours, and for lockdown procedures in the event of a terror or knife crime attack. All external doors have also been manufactured by UAP Locking Systems to enable doors to be locked from inside the building as an additional safeguarding measure. All the data from the locks and keys produced by UAP is now securely stored by the company, to enable duplicate keys and replacement locks to be cut at any time. Importantly for this project, the data will also enable locks and keys for any future refurbishment or build programmes at other sites to be designed and manufactured aligned to the security and access protocols at the Openshaw building.

“For example,” explains Andrew Canning, project manager at Caddick Construction, “if additional construction teaching areas are created at another site, the locking data stored by UAP will enable a lock to be installed that allows construction teaching staff based in Openshaw to access those rooms with their existing key.  The whole project has been a collaboration between the delivery partners to enable the client to maintain security on a one-person, one-key basis and its success has been dependent on the accuracy of Sapphire Hardware’s schedule and UAP’s manufacturing.”

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