Texas Tech University


[Minor revision–9/25/20 (replaces 5/19/16 edition)]
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Operating Policy and Procedure

OP 61.15: Control and Issue of Keys to University Buildings

DATE: September 25, 2020

PURPOSE: The purpose of this Operating Policy/Procedure (OP) is to provide increased security of university facilities, establish guidelines for key use, and provide for the central administration, control, and issue of all university keys. Key control and key issue for housing services are not included in this OP.

REVIEW: This OP will be reviewed in December of even-numbered years by the Associate Vice President for Operations and the Managing Director of Building Maintenance & Construction at Operations Division with substantive revisions forwarded to the Vice President for Administration & Finance and Chief Financial Officer.


1.  General Policy

a.    This OP provides a standard key control system common to the entire university for the management and issue of all keys to university facilities. It is administered by the Managing Director of Building Maintenance & Construction (BMC) through the university's security systems manager within the Texas Tech University Lock Shop (TTULS), with university keys and key records issued and maintained by the TTULS.

b.    A university key is identified as any key that allows access to a campus building or space within a building issued to an individual by the TTULS or by the designated department. Each key is state property entrusted to the individual for his/her exclusive use. Defacing, marking, alteration, duplication, loan, or sale of any university key is prohibited.

c.    Department heads will maintain control of keys for department equipment, files, desks, etc. The TTULS will control only building keys, but will respond to service requests for any repair necessary on a departmental charge basis.

d.    An individual key holder will be authorized only one key per room or space.

2.  Central Key Control

a.    The following responsibilities are assigned to the TTULS:

(1)    Program, develop, and assign all keyway systems, codes, and schedules for university facilities.

(2)    Maintain a central key control file and up-to-date records of all keying systems. Identify all keys assigned to individuals through the Key Management System (KMS) (http://is.operations.ttu.edu/odkms/default.aspx).

(3)    Process all key requests, receive, cut, and issue all keys. The TTULS will receive all keys to new facilities or locks from contractors or vendors. Distribution will be made via the Key Management System (KMS) found on the Operations Division website (http://is.operations.ttu.edu/odkms/default.aspx).

(4)    Secure all unassigned keys.

(5)    Authorize short-term key issues for contractors.

(6)    Perform all lock work, except that required under construction projects.

(7)    Coordinate and report all re-keying and lost key reports with the Texas Tech Police Department and department heads concerned.

(8)    Receive, record, and issue receipts for keys from separating or transferring personnel.

(9)    If known, inform the departments, including the Texas Tech Police Department, of any separating employee or student who fails to return any key.

b.    The following responsibilities are assigned to department heads:

(1)    Authorize or approve the issue of departmental keys to assigned personnel by using the Key Management System (KMS) found on the Operations Division website.

(2)    Department head additions/removals can be completed on the KMS information site (www.depts.ttu.edu/operations/KMS/) or through an email to the TTULS.

(3)    At the discretion of the department head, a specific person may be authorized to coordinate departmental key issue. The department will be responsible for notifying the TTULS of this authorization and submitting the signature for file records.

(4)    Withdraw authorization of key issue and request the return of all keys.

(5)    Report to the TTULS all key holders who are separated or transferred to another department or activity. The last day of work should be shown on the report. The report should be in written form and the department should retain a copy.

(6)    Report lost keys to the TTULS and the Texas Tech Police Department.

c.    The following responsibilities are assigned to individual key holders:

(1)    Obtain authorization from the department head for the issue of specified keys. Key requests are to be made through the KMS found online at http://depts.ttu.edu/operations.

(2)    Personally pick up authorized keys from the TTULS and electronically sign for issued keys through the KMS.

(3)    Maintain security of all keys issued. University keys are state property and are not to be defaced, marked, altered, duplicated, loaned, borrowed, reassigned, or sold.

(4)    Report lost keys to the department head.

(5)    Return keys to the TTULS when separating or transferring to another department. Keys should not be turned in to the department head. The TTULS will issue return of the keys through the KMS.

3.  Request for Special Keying or Key Changes

a.    Special security keying of specified rooms may be permitted with the written request of the department head. Such special keying will remain within the coding of the building keying system and will be set up by the TTULS. Any request to remove a room or area from the building master key system must be approved by the Managing Director of BMC. Keys for such areas will be available to the Texas Tech Police Department. Areas removed from the master key will not receive custodial or maintenance services except by special arrangements. The cost of specialty re-keying will be the responsibility of the requesting department.

b.    Private locks, individually or departmentally owned, will not be installed on building facilities. TTULS personnel will remove, install, change, or repair any lock used for space control. Any unauthorized locks, including padlocks installed for space control, will be removed and confiscated by the TTULS. The cost of a new lock and any repairs to doors, door frames, etc. made necessary by any such lock installation will be charged to the individual or department responsible for the installation of the unauthorized lock.

c.    The cost of re-keying a room, area, or building will be the responsibility of the requesting department when the re-keying is a result of lost keys, the lack of proper key control by an individual or department, theft by persons known or unknown, or simply the desire to change locks.

d.    The only exceptions to when the department will not pay for a lock or key change will be new construction, renovation projects, or scheduled work by BMC to meet the requirements of a new program. Normal maintenance on existing lock or keying systems will not result in a departmental charge.

4.  Eligibility and Key Levels

a.    Keys will be issued through the KMS for requests that have been approved by the department head to individuals with a valid form of identification.

b.    The building master key is the highest-level key available for issue. It will operate all groups of locks within a building. The building master is available for issue only when one department occupies the entire building and, then, only to the department head who has the primary responsibility for the operation of the department occupying the building. The department head may authorize a maximum of five master keys. Master key issue must have the approval of the Managing Director of BMC. All requests will be checked against computer records for the maximum number issued. Additional master keys will require written justification from the department head and approval of the Managing Director of BMC. Master keys will be available to the Texas Tech Police Department and Custodial Services for permanent issue. Temporary checkout may be made to certain Physical Plant personnel or other service departments as required. The keys issued will be recorded on the Temporary Key Issue Record (see Attachment B) of the TTULS.

c.    The departmental master key is the highest-level key available for issue when more than one department occupies a building. The departmental master will operate all locks to spaces assigned to a department within that building and are classified on the same level as a building master.

d.    The departmental sub-masters are medium/high-level keys available for issue in a department. The sub-master will operate a certain group of locks within a department. The department head may authorize a maximum of 15 sub-master keys of each series available to department personnel. The issuance of all available sub-master series to one individual will not be allowed. All requests for sub-master keys will be checked against computer records for the maximum number issued and series identification.

e.    Individual keys are those that will operate individual locks, two or more locks keyed alike, or areas cross-keyed for departmental functions. Keys may be issued to department personnel at the request and approval of the department head.

f.    Building access doors (outside doors) are keyed to a separate key. The outside doors will not be on the building keying system or the building master. The issue of keys for outside doors will be made to those individuals who must work or have access to a building at other than normal working hours. Approval by the department head is required for key issue.

g.    The campus is divided into zones for keying systems. Outside doors to buildings will be the first to be keyed to zones, and each building within each zone will have its own outside door key. An outside door zone master will be available only on written approval of the Managing Director of BMC to employees with a demonstrated need for access to the entire zone after normal work hours (e.g., the Fire Marshal and Texas Tech Police Department). There is no grand master key for all buildings within a zone; only the outside doors of buildings within a zone will be master keyed.

h.    The tunnels, mechanical equipment rooms, and custodial rooms are keyed to specific keyways not on the building system and are not available for departmental use. These areas are the assigned responsibility of the Managing Director of BMC. Building occupants normally will not have access to these areas. Any request for keys must be fully justified in writing by the department head and approved by the Managing Director of BMC.

i.    Keys will be issued to students at the discretion and approval of each department head. The student and the department head share joint responsibility to ensure that all keys are returned to the TTULS when the student has concluded all departmental activities (see section 5.e.).

j.    Keys will be issued to contractors/vendors through the TTULS using the Temporary Key Issue Record (Attachment B).

5.  Procedures for Receiving and Returning Keys

a.    New key requests will be submitted through the KMS website (https://www.depts.ttu.edu/operations/KMS/). The KMS can also be used to track the status of specific requests and requires two levels of approval, including the department head and security manager.

b.    Keys will be returned to the TTULS by the person to whom they were issued by providing proof of identity by logging onto the KMS at the TTULS.

c.    No charge or deposit is required for the issue of keys; however, the department will be charged for any re-keying required if a separating employee fails to return keys.

d.    If a department is occupying new facilities or if a large area has been re-keyed and a large quantity of keys are required for issue, the TTULS may make special arrangements with the department to deliver and issue keys at a specified time and place. The department head must enter a KMS request for each person that includes the requested rooms. A minimum of 24 hours should be allowed for processing the requested keys, and the magnitude of the work required will be a determining factor. When the keys are ready, the TTULS personnel will deliver and issue them at the arranged time. Individuals must be present to sign for and provide identification to receive said key(s). Those not present at the time of this special issue will be required to pick up keys at the TTULS by electronically signing for keys via the KMS online.

e.    Keys issued to students will be at the discretion of the department head but should follow the guidelines as set forth below:

(1)   Long-term issue (six weeks or more) is normally reserved for graduate students, student assistants employed by the department, and for some student projects. Keys issued to these students will be through normal channels, approved by the department head. The TTULS will issue keys to the individual.

(2)    Short-term issue (less than six weeks) is sometimes required for student projects. The department head may appoint a faculty/staff member as supervisor or project manager for such activities, and this supervisor may issue keys to students for short-term use. The TTULS will issue the specified keys to the supervisor, who will be fully responsible for the security and control of the keys. The supervisor will check out and retrieve the keys from the students as the activity dictates and will maintain a comprehensive key issue/return record at all times. Should the supervisor change, all keys will be returned to the TTULS for reissue to the new supervisor. If the student activity is discontinued and key issue to students is no longer required, all keys issued for this purpose will be returned to the TTULS. The supervisor will return all keys to the TTULS at the end of the spring semester.

The intent of this section is to allow department-controlled flexibility in working with students. It is not to be construed as a means by which departments can request extra keys assigned at random for the convenience of the faculty and staff. Keys will be issued to contractors/vendors at the discretion of the department head. Temporary keys may be checked out at the TTULS via the Temporary Key Issue Record (Attachment B).

6.  Transfer of Keys

Under no circumstances will any key be transferred from one person to another. All keys will be returned to the TTULS, with reissue made only by the TTULS and proper approval of the department head.

7.  Recovery of Keys from Key Holders

a.    The department head will be responsible for notifying the TTULS of the separation or transfer of any staff or faculty member to whom keys have been issued, and will instruct the individual to return key(s) to the TTULS.

b.    Upon the return of all keys to the TTULS, the individual will log on to the KMS, and TTULS personnel will verify receipt of said key(s). Any space re-keying required by an individual's failure to turn in keys will be at departmental cost.

8.  Loss or Theft of University Keys

a.    The loss or theft of keys should be reported immediately to the TTULS and the Texas Tech Police Department. The TTULS will record and identify the locks affected by the lost key and notify the respective department head.

b.    The department head will determine whether re-keying the affected area is necessary. The responsible department will be charged for any required re-keying, but charging the person responsible for the lost key will be at the discretion of the department head.

9.  Re-keying

All requests for re-keying of a space, area, or building will be made by the department head and at that department's expense. If more than ten doors or locks are involved, the request should be submitted on a Work Order and Project Request form accessed online at the Operations Division website (www.depts.ttu.edu/operations/index.php).

10.  Transfer of Existing Key Control Records and Unissued Keys

a.    All university building keys are to be issued from the TTULS. Department heads will retain and secure all unissued keys until picked up by TTULS personnel and entered into the KMS via the Operations Division website.

b.    Existing keys issued to department personnel will not be transferred. As keying systems in campus buildings are changed to the new restricted keyways, old keys should be returned and new key issues made. This step will promote updating the individual's key inventory.

11.  Annual Access Assignment Certification

Department heads will be asked to certify access assignments annually using KMS. The certification will include validating assigned keys, validating terminated employees' key returns, and reporting lost keys. Key assignment information can be monitored at any time using KMS.


Attachment A: KMS Key Request

Attachment B: Temporary Key Issue Record

Operating Policies & Procedures