How to Set up a Master Key Access Plan For Your Strata Building

26 October 2018
 Categories: , Blog


If your company manages a strata property and you're upgrading the building's entrances, doors or security system, then you need new locks. If your old locks worked on an individual key system with one key for each door, then you may be keen to set up a master key system instead.

Master key systems give individuals their own keys but also come with master keys that open any lock. While this system makes sense, it's not always easy to make a key access plan that keeps everyone happy.

This is a sensitive area. Even if the people living in your building understand the need for master keys, they may be uncomfortable if a lot of other people have keys that could open their units.

How can you work out how many master keys you need?

Who Doesn't Need a Master Key?

It's easier to start by working out who doesn't need a master key before deciding who does. For example, you won't give these keys to general residents. 

Residents only need access to entrance and exit doors, their units and public areas such as storage or laundry rooms. They actually need to be kept out of areas they shouldn't be in, like other people's homes or dangerous areas like boiler rooms.

Tip: Be prepared to be flexible over resident keys. Sometimes, strata committees vote that one or more committee members keep a master key for emergencies. 

Who Needs a Master Key?

Once you've worked out who doesn't need a key, think about who does. How many people need to be able to open any lock in the building? Typically, master keys go to people who run the building, deal with maintenance work or need a key for emergencies. 

For example, your management company should hold at least one master key in your offices. If you're running the property you need all-area access. This is also a useful spare. If other master keys are lost, you have a key to use for copies.

If you employ a caretaker, they need a master key to do their job. They need access to maintenance areas, such as tool and equipment cupboards and boiler and electrical rooms. If they'll be doing odd jobs for residents, they can use the key to get into units when people are at work. Plus, they also need to be able to let tradies into the building and into units as necessary.

Make sure to talk to your locksmith before you make a final decision on how many master keys you need. Your locksmith will have experience of dealing with these systems and can help you set up a key access plan.