Construction Locks

keyHave you ever thought about who has keys for the locks on the doors of your new house?

After all there are lot’s of tradies working on the house after ‘Lock Up’ stage.

Well these days most builders use Construction Locks, sometimes called Project, locks. These are a special type of lock which comes with two types of key:

The Construction Keys

Standard pattern ‘master’ keys which are given to all the tradies, who can with a single key enter any of the builders houses under construction

The Final Key 

These are the keys which is given to you at handover. Once you use this key it displaces some ball bearings in the lock which should mean the Construction key will no longer work.

Some of the things you should know about Construction Locks are:

  • Before the end of the handover you should make sure you use the Final Key in every door lock in the house. check each lock with all the keys you are given. This will ensure that:
  • Every lock will be changed to only open with the final key. (It’s worth borrowing the site supervisors key to make sure his key no longer works)
  • All the locks, and keys work properly.
  • The  locks the builder uses are unlikely to be expensive/high quality.
  • Although the construction key won’t work there will be a limited number of final key combinations for this type of lock. If you want in increased level of security it could be worth getting a locksmith to re-key the locks as soon as possible. The cost is going to be around $60-80/lock plus a call out fee.

Would you go for better locks?


The Settling In Section contains lots of advice on what to do after

you have moved in your new house


Internal Doors

Most internal doors these days are of lightweight composite construction. Basically a light timber framework with two hardboard ‘skins’ and a cardboard honeycomb filler.

Not the best thing is you have got teenagers who love slamming doors !

These type of doors are really inexpensive……………..

I recently replaced a damaged door and the door cost less than $50 and came primed, complete with hinge plates. and with a latch already fitted.(Many builders now buy door frames with hinge plates already fitted and the doors are installed by just pushing a hinge pin into place.)

The question for you when specifying your new house is:

“Although the standard internal door is cheap is it the best door for me?”


Here are a just 3 of a wide range of doors available at my local DIY store.

A couple of low additional cost alternatives to the basic painted door that I believe are worth thinking about are:

  • A veneer face, typically maple.
  • A formed panel skin.

Getting a stronger internal door such as a solid door can have the following advantages.

  • Lower noise transmission…………good for home theaters and to isolate the laundry noise.
  • Fire Safety……….good for kitchen doors and internal doors to the garage.
  • Storage……….easier to install hooks on.

Just remember though that if you want a particular look you can get it, but the cost could be $300 or more per door which can add up if you upgrade every door in your new house.

What type of internal doors do you like ?


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Door Opening

One of the small things that can really make a difference to your house is how doors open……..but its one thing that is frequently forgotten.

This sketch shows a typical bedroom and ensuite layout. (I know it doesn’t show the wardrobe but I’m trying to keep it simple)

A couple of things you need to think about are:

Into The Room Or Not

You will see as usual the doors to open from the corridor, into the room or into the en-suite from the bedroom as in this diag.

Particularly in the case of bathrooms and en-suites it makes a lot of sense for the door to open into the bedroom as this makes a lot more usable room in the bathroom.

It also minimises the risk of sending my wife flying if I open the door while she is at the mirror putting her make up on.

In the case of separate toilets its actually much safer to have the door open outwards.


Left Or Right Handed

How to tell – When you look at the door from the side it opens towards, and you can see the hinges…. which side are they on? That is the hand of the door.

Looking at the door to the bedroom you will see that the door is hinged on the right as you look at it from inside the room.

This works well as the door opens against the wall. Having the door hinged from the left side doesn’t seem much different, but it means you have to walk round the door to get out.

It seems minor but in our last house we got one door wrong and it annoyed us every day for 6 years.

You need to get the door opening sorted out before you can finalise your electrical plan as it will affect which side of the door you put the light switches.

Once the wires are installed and the drywall installed changing the door direction can be a major cost.

More on doors including 24 pages of Check Lists for your new house choices in the

‘Selection / Pre-Start Guide’