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Index > Operations Policies > Key Control Policy

Key Control Policy


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for key access to Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) owned and leased buildings, with the goal of enhancing personal safety and security of the physical assets of RISD.


This policy pertains to mechanical locking systems only.

Policy Statement

The Department of Facilities Operations is responsible for installing, maintaining, servicing, replacing, and updating all locks used to secure RISD owned and leased facilities. This responsibility includes the design of lock systems, maintenance and service of locks, issuance of all keys, and maintenance of cores, keys and records.


The Department of Facilities Operations will establish and implement procedures and will prepare such forms as are necessary for the management of keys. The Director of Facilities Operations, or in the event of their absence, the Structural Trades Supervisor, will issue separate keys to employees only upon the written request of the appropriate Department Head and subject to approval.

Keys will be issued only when it is determined that there is a well-defined ongoing need for access for the performance of the individual’s assigned duties and responsibilities. Keys will be issued to individuals by name and these individuals will sign for and be held responsible and accountable for all such keys. Spare keys will not be issued. RISD employees will be issued the lowest level key in the system hierarchy that is necessary to provide them access required by the individual’s position and responsibilities.

All issued keys are the property of RISD. It is a violation of both RISD policies and Rhode Island state law for any individual to attempt to duplicate or actually duplicate any key issued by RISD. All keys issued shall be marked with a distinctive stamp, and only the Department of Facilities Operations is authorized to duplicate keys.

1. Control

Each Department Head is responsible for ensuring that proper key procedures are followed and that all members of their department maintain security practices. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • ensuring appropriate use of key(s) to maintain a secured area
  • returning key(s) of any department member who no longer needs access to an area
  • returning obsolete or unneeded key(s) to the Department of Facilities Operations for proper disposal
  • reporting the loss or theft of key(s) immediately to the Department of Facilities Operations and Public Safety; this is the responsibility of the employee to whom the key(s) were issued.

Department Heads are responsible for retrieving issued keys from employees prior to termination, separation or retirement. The department will periodically (at least once every twelve months) audit, inventory and record key issuance records and lock boxes to assure security. Any discrepancies should be reported immediately to the Department of Facilities Operations. Facilities Operations may periodically audit individual and/or departmental key inventories and records to ensure that there is adherence to this policy.

Key(s) are never to be left unattended on desks, in door locks, or carried in such a manner as to be susceptible to loss or theft. Whenever an occupant leaves a building after hours, the exterior door lock must be set to prevent unauthorized access. Public Safety must be notified whenever a potential or actual security problem exists, i.e., unauthorized entry, property theft, or loss of key(s). An authorized individual entering or leaving a secured building shall not permit any individual to enter who would not normally be permitted to enter the building.

2. Access by Non-RISD Personnel

Certain non-RISD personnel who have a well-defined and ongoing need for access to RISD facilities may request keys for access to certain areas through the Department which contracts for these services. It is the Department Head’s responsibility to maintain a record and assure proper usage of each key provided.This includes access for specific locations under renovation or construction. Access generally will be restricted to specific locations and granted for a set period of time with an automatic expiration. Project managers are specifically responsible for requesting, controlling and documenting this access. All decisions made regarding the use of construction cores will be made by the Director of Facilities Operations or their designee.

In cases where there is no ongoing, continuous need for access to the facilities, vendors and contractors will either gain access with the assistance of Public Safety or obtain keys for temporary use from the Department of Facilities Operations. Prior written authorization for access must be requested by the Department Head responsible for the vendor/contractor, and appropriate notification to any and all Department Heads responsible for the space. Non-RISD personnel operating in such capacities will be provided temporary keys at the minimum level and duration of access required for accomplishing their work. Such vendors/contractors will be required to return any temporary access keys to the Department of Facilities prior to departing the campus each day. For additional information regarding independent contractors, please click here.

In situations where a project is expected to last over several months such as major construction or renovation, trusted vendors/contractors well know to RISD may be issued RISD contractor ID cards which can be set to cover specific time frames and can provide records of access to campus facilities based on door swipes. Such cards are issued upon the recommendation of the Director of Facilities Operations through the Office of Access Control & Campus Card Services/Public Safety.

Specialty contractors requiring access to the entirety of the building will be granted a master key ring and will be required to return it at the end of each business day.

No outside locksmith may perform any work at any of the RISD owned or leased facilities without the prior written approval of the Director of Facilities Operations or their designee.

3. Financial Responsibility

Departments will be charged for re-keying and the re-issuance of key(s) for an area or employee in the case of internal department security. Lost, misplaced, stolen or over issuance of key(s) is solely the responsibility of the department responsible for the change. Replacement fees will be imposed for lost, stolen or misplaced keys, regardless of the circumstances.

4. Student Keys / Residence Life

Students shall not permanently be issued keys to areas other than their residence hall *unless approved by their department head and Director of Facilities Operations (where applicable); students may gain access to other areas with the assistance of Public Safety with prior written approval from the appropriate Department Head responsible for that area.

Student room keys shall be returned to a Residence Life designee at the time of move out.If keys have not been returned by the student, the room lock must be re-keyed at the expense of the department. It will be the sole responsibility of Residence Life to collect, distribute and manage student room keys.

5. Violations of Policy

  • Unauthorized locking devices are prohibited on campus. Modifying, removing or attempting to defeat or disable any security or safety device by unauthorized personnel is not permitted.
  • Front doors and room doors of the residence halls are NOT to be propped open at any time.
  • Any individual found causing intentional damage to RISD-owned security or safety devices, or who props, holds open or in any way interferes with the proper securing of a security or safety device is in violation of RISD policy and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and/or prosecution.


Key Request

A. Requestor may only request keys for areas assigned under their control. The Department Head that administers the particular area must also approve all key requests for their areas.

B. An official key request form can be found on the Facilities Operations website (TBD)
C. Request forms must be routed appropriately and include proper written approvals prior to key production.
D. Obsolete, recovered, or unneeded keys that are returned to a supervisor, Director or Department Head must be forwarded to the Department of Facilities Operations for proper disposal and updating of key inventory records. Such keys should be placed into a suitable envelope along with a signed explanatory note and sent via campus mail to the Facilities Operations office.
E. Even if the same number and type of keys are to be issued to a subsequent employee, the recovered key(s) must be returned for key management records and then reissued via the key request procedure.
F. All new requests require the individual to sign for their key(s) personally and to pick up all keys at the Department of Facilities Operations
G. For the replacement of lost or stolen keys:

  1. Public Safety should be notified immediately via phone.
  2. The Department of Facilities Operations should be notified in writing. The letter should state the name and department of the individual who was responsible for the key(s), the area(s) that were accessible by the key(s), and all known key codes.
  3. If the key has not been found after one week's time, initiate a replacement key request. Ensuring authorized signatures on the key request form along with the signature of the individual to whom the key(s) will be issued supports key control.

Picking Up Keys
The process generally takes one week to complete; therefore, requestors are encouraged to submit a request at least one week in advance of their actual need for the key(s). For convenience, requests may be submitted prior to the start date of new employees. Advanced arrangements may also be made for individuals to pick up their key(s) anytime that the Facilities Operations department is open, simply by contacting the Facilities Operations office.

For security reasons the issuance of a grand master, building master, and restricted keys is extremely limited. The Vice President of Campus Services and/or the Director for Facilities Operations are the approving authorities for such keys

Lock Changes
Lock changes may be initiated by completing the key request form. The request should clearly describe the locks to be changed as well as the reason for the change. All changes must have the approval of the appropriate Department Head responsible for that area.

Revision history

This policy was approved as of: 5/3/2022

Next scheduled review: every three years or as required.


Issuing Office

Department of Facilities Operations

Responsible Officer

Vice President of Campus Services

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director of Facilities Operations

Structural Trades Supervisor

Chief of Public Safety