What is our perception of the number of locking points on a window lock? Many window locks claim xx amount of locking points, but what does that number actually mean? Do we need more, or should we focus instead on making sure what we have, is up to scratch?
Perception of what is a ‘true’ locking point may differ, this may be a bolt, cam, hook, pin or mushroom; or a combination of each. The role of a locking point is to securely clamp the window sash to the frame, thereby preventing any attempts to jemmying open the window. For it to be classed as a locking point it should in solo, or in combination, prevent an intruder from being able to forcibly open the window. Although a simple location pin or guide pin fulfils a function either in window fabrication or operation, it can’t be classed as a true ‘locking point.’ These complementary elements function as mere aids to the window’s compression, or some, simply give the impression of additional security features. Many manufacturers, however, may suggest all parts are ‘locking points’ and this can, in turn, present a misleading idea of the capabilities of the lock.
The number of suggested ‘locking points’ may look impressive to a homeowner, but they will ultimately be more impressed by a window lock that secures their property long term. It’s vital as a fabricator, when choosing window locks, that you comprehend what the function is for each of the various elements and what works for you. Don’t focus on the ‘number’ of locking points but the performance and features of the lock and the window as a whole. Carry out your research and insist on a fit-up, test the lock with your specific profile system to ensure that the lock fits well, is easy to fabricate, operates well within the tolerances of the profile system and performs well overall. Question what performance standards the lock adheres to, what testing has been completed by the manufacturer, and whether it has any third-party certification? A product with Secured By Design (SBD) is one reliable indicator that a lock performs well and meets the police approved specifications laid out by Secured By Design. However, don’t solely rely on literature or singular test reports.
Many locks will claim PAS 24:2012 compliance, but as you may be aware, the PAS 24 standard itself is a British Standard that sets out minimum security requirements. It is conducted on a whole window system, so many influencing factors will dictate the success or failure of the test. The profile system, reinforcement, locking system, hinge, handle, window fabrication, size of the window, glazed unit etc; will all in some way influence testing to the required specifications. So although a window lock can claim it meets the requirements of PAS 24 as it has been previously tested in a complete window on a specific date, with a specific profile system and specific hardware. This may not necessarily reflect your setup, it’s therefore beneficial if possible, to have the new locking system and hardware you will use independently tested with your profile system. Some manufacturers do offer this facility, providing you with independent testing for the window system as a whole, you can then be confident in its overall performance.
There is a wealth of choice when it comes to uPVC window locks and the best lock for you could depend on the security level you're looking for, the wants and needs of your target market, plus your profile system. You may also wish to consider how you will ‘market’ the new lock within your window – does it offer unique features and benefits you can utilise, what marketing support is available from the manufacturer and how simple are those messages to convey to a homeowner? Choosing a new window system doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be a holistic decision bringing together all elements in terms of fabrication, installation, testing, marketing, etc. and not merely down to cost.
As one of the leading security providers in the UK, ERA has a range of different window locks that offer choice to the fabricator. From simple, non-security Espagnolette Bars to the more sophisticated Extreme shootbolt system and lots in between.
The most recent product to offer further choice to the ERA range is the Double Cam Window Lock. Without the need for shootbolts, the lock and keep combination exceeds the requirements of the PAS 24 security standard. The unidirectional double locking cams along the face bar work in tandem with the unique super keep for a strong, quick to fit, PAS 24 compliant solution for a range of PVCu profiles. The inclusion of an anti-jemmy pin aids bar alignment during fabrication and although not a ‘locking point’ does work with the cams to provide support against jemmying attacks on the window.
Requiring no complex routing, set up or fitting, the Double Cam lock can also be fine-tuned on-site with adjustable cams, so for fabricators and installers alike, makes an excellent ‘fit and forget’ window security solution. When considering the new Double Cam lock, it’s a favourable idea to arrange an initial fit-up, ERA provides a team of technical engineers that support fabricators, with fit-ups and training that can be utilised at your premises. Spending time on the shop floor with the lock will give you a good feel for how easy the lock and keeps are to fit, any time savings you can reap switching away from your current product and a chance to ask any questions that you may have.
It is also advisable to have the lock independently tested in your specific profile system, and ERA has an independent UKAS test house that does just that. They test the ‘worst-case scenario’ using a large double opener window to instil the confidence that whatever size of window you use, you will meet the minimum test requirements and the newly chosen window lock is up to the job. Although situated within ERA’s modern facilities in the West Midlands, the UKAS accredited test house is completely independent and performs rigorous impact, security and weather tests to the latest PAS 24 standards. Hence you rest assure that whether it’s ERA window locks being put under test or another manufacturer, all test are carried out within the same parameters.
James Wilson, Product Manager for ERA, describes the new lock: “With a 10 year mechanical performance guarantee, the ERA Double Cam Window Lock provides a shootbolt free PAS 24 compliant solution that has been designed to benefit fabricators, installers and homeowners alike. Our team of engineers are available to provide fabricators with support and guidance switching to the new lock, testing it within their window system to ensure that the highest standards of security and quality are achieved every single time. ”