A Warning On UK Approvals, Certifications And Ratings For Safes
Accredited European Certification Prevents Safe Supply Fraud And Ensures Quality.
If you consider that 70% of safes that are tested by accredited European testing labs fail on the first attempt, the implications of some manufacturers and safe suppliers displaying unaccredited "certification" badges that claim to comply with European standards is obvious.
All properly certified safes, cabinets, data units and strongrooms will display an accredited certification plate that is clear and easy to understand. Certification plates should state the products' description, display the logo of an accredited certification body and indicate that the body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065. This is a verifiable assurance that the unit in question has been tested and certified under the strictest criteria for the relevant standard. A reputable supplier will always provide accredited certification documents for a safe, cabinet or strongroom and the unit itself will have at least one certification plate which can be located on the inside of the door. This will always be a stamped metal plate, never a sticker. Accredited European certification is verifiable assurance that a safe, cabinet or strongroom has been tested and certified under European law. This is proof of standard for insurance, GDPR and litigation purposes.
What Accredited Certification Badges Look Like:
Accredited European Certification May Bear The Following Logos And Will Always Be A Stamped Metal Plate, Never A Sticker:
Certified Safes EN1143-1
EN1143-1 is the burglary resistance standard for safes, strong rooms, and ATM safes - Grades for safes in this standard currently range from 0 to XIII. Resistance to attack rises by 50% between grades. Certification for fire resistance will appear separately to any burglary resistance certification that may appear on a certified safe.
There is very little difference, if any, between a certification mark from a body that is not accredited to certify safes, a manufacturer’s badge that makes a claim to a particular EU standard, or a supplier’s badge making similar claims. All are essentially just an “opinion” and not a reliable certification of standards in any sense.
Unaccredited Certifications And Marks
There are several UK organisations and bodies that claim to "certify" or "approve" safes to a variety of standards including European Standards despite having no accreditation to do so.
1. Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB)
LPCB (UK) has never been an accredited certification body for the burglary resistance of safes in Europe yet have issued certification badges in the same format as properly accredited certification bodies for many years. Notably however an ISO/IEC17065 accreditation which will be present on an accredited certification badge is absent on LPCB badges. The fact that LPCB claim to certify their own tests also runs counter to any norms in Europe where both the tester and the certifier are required to be independent bodies. LPCB should not be confused with an accredited certification for a safe in Europe.
2. The Association Of Insurance Surveyors
The Association of Insurance Surveyors (AIS) are a U.K. organisation who do not claim to be a certification body but have nevertheless taken it upon themselves to produce a list of "approved safes" and make recommendations for insurance covers that they consider suitable for the Republic of Ireland. To quote the groups list from 2015, “The list is appropriate for use in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Eire and AiS makes no representation or promise that it is appropriate for use outside these territories".
The A.I.S. safe list not only gives recommended cash ratings to uncertified second-hand safes but by its own admission lists insurance ratings for new safes that have never been tested or assessed at all. This allowance however seems to apply only to safes sold by U.K. based suppliers.
A quote from the AiS list 2015: “There are still some safes manufactured in the UK which are not tested and the Committee has impressed on these companies that they should have their safes tested by an approved test house. However, for the benefit of members, the Committee has provided a cash rating for the un-tested safes from these companies based on information provided by them.”
It is truly bizarre that a UK organisation feels entitled to make claims regarding insurance cover it considers “appropriate for the Republic of Ireland” while stating that the same recommendations are not “appropriate” for the rest of the E.U. Perhaps the most striking thing about the AIS Safe list is the huge number of safes it contains that should be presumed to contain asbestos and should not be sold in either the UK or Ireland. The AIS "safe committee" responsible for the list are predominantly in the second-hand safe business.
The AIS issue stickers to highlight safes they have "approved".
3. Sold Secure
Owned by the UK's Master Locksmiths Association, Sold Secure says on it's website that it is "the premier testing and certification house" for a range of security products that includes safes, despite being completely unaccredited to either test or certify, even in the UK. One can only imagine how accredited European testing and certification bodies operating under European Parliament regulation 765/2008, the legal basis of accreditation for the certification of safes to European standards (ISO/IEC 17065) would view such a statement. The accredited European testing and certification system ensures unbiased conditions for both testing and certification through a strict systems of checks and balances and is backed by regular auditing and market surveillance. Sold Secure on the other hand have their own grading system for safes, gold, silver, and bronze, based on their locksmith members opinions of products which many of those members sell.