What is a Master Suite?

What is a Master Suite?

Here at Rossells, as a registered member of the MLA, a recognised Union Super Centre and an Assa Stockist, we can tailor to any of your security requirements and pride ourselves in being one of the best places you can go for expert advice, supply of suitable materials and professional onsite installations when it comes to security.


When it comes to running a business, or just wanting some increased control over access to your home, you want to be on top of things, involved and in the know with the comings and goings, literally in some cases.

A Master Suite is a series of multiple locks, where you have control over how many keys operate each lock and how many different locks are operated by just one key.

Always remember: Master Suites are designed and put in place to make it simpler for you as the user. Some of the main benefits are the added control over key duplication and the ability to order keys to code; for example, should you need to acquire any key within your Master Suite, assuming that the suite is registered to ourselves, all we would need to know is which door it is for or the reference from one of the existing keys and they can be made from the code, without needing an original to copy from. We would always require specific authorisation when it comes to key duplication and would never release or distribute any keys within a Master Suite without formal identification and authorisation from a registered signatory. Dependent on the level of system that you require, you can be safe in the knowledge that no one but you can acquire any keys elsewhere without your knowledge. All types of locks and cylinders and any combination of them can be included in Master Suites. I.e. Euro and Oval cylinders, Scandinavian cylinders, rim cylinders, screw-in cylinders, key-switches, padlocks, key cabinets and safes.

When it comes to new Master Suites, there are 3 stages to consider:

  1. Compilation
  2. Construction
  3. Installation

1. Compilation : In the first stage, we would need to assess your needs for the suite and how it is to be implemented; whether it is to be installed in a single building; and if so, what type of structure is it? Be it a house, a block of flats or apartments or commercial building of any kind; these are all important factors.

To assist you in compiling a bespoke Master Suite that suits your needs, we would look in to how many doors are to be included in it and how these are divided or grouped. Below are a few examples of how simple or complex you can make a Master Suite:


The simplest form of Master Suite would incorporate a single master key and any number of “differ” keys. A prime example of these is in residential and student lettings: a landlord may wish to give each tenant a key which opens the lock on their bedroom and that room alone, but in the case of any emergency or lost keys, the landlord could possess a master key which can open all of the bedroom doors.

Expanding on this, a landlord may want to make it easier for their tenants and their own records, by having a communal entrance door. The tenants would only need one key each, which would all be different from one another, to open both their communal or front door and also their own bedroom door, but still restrict access to other bedrooms.

A step up from the previous type of system would be the incorporation of “sub-masters” and “sub-groups”. For instance when installing a Master Suite in a school, you may have groups of doors divided into department blocks or year blocks. To keep tabs on key control, you may want to supply a sub-master key to a head of department, giving them the ability to open all doors in that block, but no others i.e the head of science can access all of the laboratories in the science block but none of the workshops in the design block. You could then supply the teachers with a differ key which only gives them access to their respective classroom and no others. Furthermore, a premises officer or caretaker could be supplied with a key that opens all external doors and maintenance rooms – which may include one or more doors from any number of blocks – but restrict access to any internal doors within the block itself. Above these sub-master keys you could possess a “Grand Master” key which allows access to every door within the system.

These Sub-groups can be as infinitely complex as you require, allowing you to have any number of groups within groups to reflect your needs and allowing us to monitor the suite on the technical side of things, making maintenance easy.

2. Construction: When constructing a master suite, we need to know where we stand on what is in the door in terms of locks and security at the moment and what physical features you will need. Just a quick browse through our extensive online catalogue can show you the difference between the different types of cylinder that can be installed in your master suite. Whether you need one type of cylinder (e.g rim, euro, oval) on all doors or a combination of several types, or even to include some padlocks or key-switches in your master suite, anything is possible. We build up all cylinders, padlocks and key-switches for Master Suites in house at our workshop to a highly professional degree. This allows us to quickly make changes and additions to Master Suites as well as supply replacement cylinders and keys when you need them most.

Furthermore, as the only Assa stockist in the county registered to supply and fit Assa products and security surveys as well as key cutting services to the general public, we’re a one-stop-shop for setting up and maintaining your master suite.

We currently use 7 different types of key systems for compiling and manufacturing new Master Suites depending on your needs and preferences. These systems have varying levels of physical security as well as electronic security at the highest levels. Other factors include the way that the cylinders and padlocks are built as well as how the keys are registered and restricted when it comes to duplication.


Assa 5 Pin

This is the lowest level Assa system and features a 5-Pin tumbler mechanism with hardened cylinder pins throughout like all Assa cylinders, making them highly resistant to wear and drilling. The keys themselves are made of a durable and hard-wearing silver-nickel alloy, meaning that you should never end up with keys becoming stiff or sticky over time. The profiles of Assa 5-Pin keys however, are not patent protected which means that some other key-cutting establishments or locksmiths may be able to copy keys without authorisation, although you may find that only Assa stockists will keep the correct key-blanks in stock.

We register all Assa cylinders that we build up here in the workshop and use our own unique stamping reference, which identifies us to other Assa stockists who should not duplicate any keys or reproduce any cylinders within the Master Suite without authorisation from ourselves, though we cannot guarantee that they will all follow this procedure.

The 5-Pin system is one of Assa’s oldest designs and more recently it is being phased out to be replaced by patented systems and components to increase the security of Master Suites. However, Assa stockists should always be able to obtain key blanks and components, although there may come a time where we can no longer compile complex Master Suites with them.


Assa Flexcore Plus

The next system that Assa endorse is the “Flexcore”, or sometimes referred to as the “Flexcore Plus” system. It is similar to the 5 Pin system, by the fact that cylinders use a 5 Pin tumbler mechanism, with anti-picking features. The Flexcore system, however, incorporates a patented key-blank, available only from Assa stockists. The keys are again made of the same hard-wearing alloy and the cylinder is comprised of hardened components to increase its resistance to any forms of physical attack. When supplying a new Flexcore cylinder, we will register the pattern of the keys – to ensure that it is not used again on any future cylinders – and record information of any persons who are authorised to obtain copies of keys. This is information is stored securely on our systems and is verified and brought up whenever an enquiry into key duplication is made. We can also keep a running total of how many keys have been made since the cylinder(s) was created, so that you can keep your own records, e.g how many keys to collect when with any change in tenancy. Any duplication of keys or acquisition of any new cylinders requires a letter of authorisation or verified identification of a registered signatory.


Assa 6 Pin (600 Series)

The Assa 6 Pin system is simply a step up from the 5 Pin. As its name suggests, any cylinders made under this system use 6 pin tumbler mechanisms and anti-picking features. Again, the key-blanks are not patented so may be available from some key-cutting establishments or locksmiths who may not be MLA members or Assa stockists.

However, similarly to the 5-Pin system, the 600 system is an older product from Assa so they are beginning to phase it out as an option for new Master Suites, although key blanks and pinning components should always be available to Assa stockists.


Assa 4800

What makes the 4800 systems special is their patented sidebar feature. Not only are there six hardened pins used in the construction of the cylinders, but the addition of “fingerpins” which also have to be manipulated in the correct way to operate the cylinder and allow access. The keys themselves are made of Assa’s recognisable hard-wearing silver-nickel alloy and due to the sidebar feature they are even more durable over time.

This sidebar pattern is milled onto the blank of the key and is restricted to the individual Assa stockist. This adds a substantial level of security to the lock, not only in regards to key duplication but also in the physical integrity of the cylinder making it highly resistant to drilling, bumping and picking methods.


Assa Twin Combi (5800)

Assa Twin Combi systems are one of the highest levels of security that we provide when it comes to duplication restriction. Not only are the key blanks patented, but they are 100% exclusive to us and us alone as an Assa stockist. This means that you won’t find anywhere else in the world to provide copies of our Twin Combi keys or cylinders and Assa will only distribute key blanks and other unique cylinder components to us.

The 5800 system was introduced as an updated version of the 4800 systems and incorporates five fingerpins, whereas 4800 systems may only have a minimum of three. Assa also introduced an expansion on the variety of the finerpins themselves, meaning that more combinations are available within master suites and further unique key blanks can be created at later date for new suites.


Assa Cliq

This is the highest level of security that Assa manufacture in their range of cylinders. As well as featuring the same mechanical features as the Twin Combi cylinders (i.e. Six hardened pins as well as the coded sidebar feature and the exclusive key profiles), they also have an electronic code programmed into a memory chip stored in the head of the key which must be correctly programmed to the cylinder, which in turn activates another mechanical part to allow access. Similar to the way that in a car key with an immobiliser chip, the cut pattern on the key may be copied accurately fairly easily, but the chip in the head of the key must also be coded correctly to the car too.

As well as all the physical components making the cylinder extremely resistant to physical attack, the addition of the electronic chip and maintaining the system with a computer allows you to restrict access to individual keys even if they work the cylinder on the physical aspect, but still disallow that individual key from gaining access to the door.

Once you have selected which level of security that you wish to have on your system, we would need to look at what types of cylinders are required on the system.


If you are replacing an existing series of locks, take note of the types of cylinder. For example, try to identify whether they are Euro or Oval profile cylinders and if so, whether they are keyed on both sides, or have a thumb-turn on one side and a key on the other. If there any fire doors, emergency exits or key switches are to be used in the system, then this may use single Euro and Oval cylinders as opposed to the more common double cylinders. Take note if there’s anywhere that you require rim cylinders (or “Yale style”, slam lock) with a night-latch on the inside of the door at any point on the system. Also, aluminium or metal framed doors may use pairs of round threaded or screw-in cylinders. So any information you can provide about your existing set up would be useful.

Some Assa cylinders can also come with specialist features such as a classroom function, which is utilised on key and turn cylinders; this feature allows the key to be used from the outside even if the turn side is being held and prevented from turning. There is also a dual action function, which we have implemented several times in care homes and other establishments that may require access to a room in an emergency; should a tenant or resident leave their key in the door, with other cylinders this might mean that a key will not work from the outside; the dual action feature overrides this, meaning that swift access in an emergency can always be gained.

Are there any doors within the system that are not currently fitted with any locks? These may require a new lock case, door closer or set of handles. All of which we can supply.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, we can build Master Suites to any combination of cylinders or padlocks, without affecting the structure and layout of it.


3. Installation: When it comes to installing your locks, you would want it to be done to the highest of standards, whether it is your business or your home, it’s always better to know that things have been done properly. As well as offering professional fitting services, we also offer a viewing service when it comes to new Master Suites, to help with all three stages of the process.


So if you are unsure of the types of locks that you have or where to start when it comes to compiling your suite, we can help. This service is usually free, but it would be dependent on other factors such as travel time, distance from our workshop and time needed on site.

We can provide estimations following any viewings or if you know what you want and just need us for the compiling and construction processes, then feel free to give us any information that you think may be relevant so we can get started on constructing your new Master Suite.

So there you have it all locked up, the simple steps to setting up, building and installing your Master Suite, no matter how complex you need it to be. Never hesitate to get in touch for any tips or advice, we’re open here at the workshop from 8:30am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday and you can call us on (0116) 2628899 or you can always drop us an email at sales@rossells.co.uk

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