Baugenossenschaft Esslingen – eliminating high costs of lost keys and simplifying administration

Baugenossenschaft Esslingen eG (BGE) is a building cooperative that provides its members with affordable housing. Founded in 1890, BGE started with 10 apartments. Today, with around 3,000 apartments and 1,000 garages, it is the major provider of living space in Esslingen.

Until recently, each house had its own locking system. If a key was lost, it was an annoying, time-consuming and expensive process to replace the lock cylinders. It could take several weeks, and costs could quickly rise from 300 to 500 euros per cylinder. It was not always certain whether tenants had liability insurance that covered the cost of replacing keys. These kinds of mechanical locking systems also lose their security status after a few years and must be exchanged.

The locking system in one of BGE’s largest residential complexes had been exhausted and could no longer be expanded. If a tenant lost his key, the entire locking system with around 150 cylinders would need to be replaced at a cost of around 30,000 euros. BGE therefore decided to look at the topic of a new locking system holistically.

BGE identified the goals of a new locking system for the entire housing stock. It needed to be:

BGE looked at many different systems, including trendy digital solutions with fingerprint sensors, and those using a smartphone app or transponder. But all these solutions had a major disadvantage: they needed a power supply to the doors, either with continuous power (which is not possible to retrofit to the existing housing inventory), or with a battery. BGE had already had experience with batteries: when does the battery fail? Of course, on a Saturday evening in the dead of winter, which involved an expensive emergency visit by a locksmith.

After some research, BGE found a system which met their requirements – the battery-free iLOQ S10 electronic system. The insertion of the key generates enough current to carry out the verification on the lock cylinder and to close the lock. The safety logic is in the lock cylinder and not in the key. The keys are identical to prevent key copying and made from a more stable material than conventional locks. Access management of the keys takes place in-house at the BGE administration office with specially authorized devices.

With iLOQ S10, it is not necessary to replace the locks in the event of a change of resident. The locks only need to be reprogrammed. This is fast and cheaper. And the new inhabitant can be sure that no one else has a key matching the lock except themselves. Another advantage with iLOQ S10 is that, if a key is lost, a new key is quickly programmed. The access rights of the lost key are blocked from the system.

In order to eliminate the high costs involved with lost keys, and to simplify key administration, BGE is already converting the locking system for their entire building stock to iLOQ S10, including front doors, technical rooms, underground and individual garages. A total of around 4,000 lock cylinders will be replaced an