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How can I reduce the number of keys for my Properties? & What is a Grand Master Key System?

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

Today we are going to answer the question: How can I reduce the number of keys for my Properties? We’ll also answer the question: What is a GMK or Grand Master Key System?

At Loc-Doc Security, Our Mission is to help you protect your people and your property.

A customer of ours recently was in need of a large key system that would be able to cover several large buildings without creating a large quantity of keys for the maintenance team to manage.

We will review how we were able to help them manage their properties and reduce the number of keys for their Facility Managers to access all of the buildings.

Keying Levels

First, let’s cover the different levels of keying. Understanding the different levels and how they operate will help with the concept. Keying Levels are similar to an organizational chart in any company. When thinking of the levels of keying, just think of a structured corporate organization chart.

At the Top is the CEO or Executive. Under the Executive are several Department Heads or Supervisors. Finally, under Supervisors are the employees.

The CEO or Executive block at the top would be the Grand Master Key. A GMK or Grand Master Key System is simply a key in a built system that operates all locks.

This would include separate groups that have their own Master Keys.

The Grand Master Key can operate any lock, on any door, at any of the multiple facilities.

The Department Heads or Supervisors would represent each separate building Master Key. That means the Master Key can operate any lock, on any door, in their building but no others.

For example, Master Key 1 would operate all of the locks for Building 1, Master Key 2 would operate all of the locks for Building 2, Master Key 3 would operate all of the locks for Building 3, and so on.

Master Key 1 would not be able to access Building 2 or Building 3. They would only be able to access their building, in this example Building 1.

The last level would be the employees or Change Key.

This would be giving them access to a specific area in the building. For example, John an employee in the Research Department would receive a key that works only in the approved areas in the Research Department.

The Key would not work in other Departments or Areas of the building.

Let’s Review the Different Levels From Least Access to The Most Access:

  • Change Key: Access to only one lock. The Master Key can open this lock.

  • Master Key: The Master Key can lock and unlock all Change Keys below it in the System.

  • Grand Master Key: The Grand Master Key gives access to Multiple Master Keys and Everything Under.

  • Great Grand Master Key: This key grants access to all Grand Master, Master, and Change keys underneath.

How Master Key Systems Work

Now let’s explain How Master Key Systems Work. At a simple level, a Master Key System will allow 2 or more keys to open one lock.

There are some advantages to having a Master Key System.

  • Elevated Security: Having a Grand Master Key System allows you to designate different levels of security and access to employee roles.

  • Streamlined Access: There’s no need for Facility Maintenance or Management to carry a heavy key ring or chatelaine bulging with keys for different properties. With a Grand Master Key System, you can access multiple facilities with just a single key.

So where could you use a Grand Master Key System? Most School Systems & Districts, Managed Commercial Properties with Multiple locations, Hospitals, and Universities are prime candidates for this type of system.

As a Facility Manager or Property Manager, it can be frustrating to have to manage a giant ring of keys for multiple buildings. So now we get to the question everyone wants an answer to; How can you reduce the amount of keys for your properties?

One economical solution would be to place your properties on a Grand Master Key System. If you are managing the Facilities of 10 commercial buildings, you can reduce the number of keys the Janitorial Staff would need to access the buildings, or anyone else that would need multi access to the properties.

Reducing the number of keys from 30 to 1 while ensuring that the right people still have access to their designated areas.

We can begin to plan out a key system for your property and customize it for your different areas, properties, and even levels of access.

Most of the time, it is a best practice to follow departments or buildings organizational charts like we referenced in the beginning and add the building core areas like stairwells, HVAC, Electrical or IT rooms.

If you need help planning a Grand Master Key System or You are interested in learning more about reducing the number of keys to your properties, we can help. Schedule a free evaluation with our team at and pick a time that works for you.

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