Accredited European Certification
EU Parliament regulation 765/2008 created the system that provides the legal basis of accreditation for the burglary resistance certification of safes and cabinets to:
- European standard EN1143-1, the burglary resistance certification for safes
- European standard EN14450, the burglary resistance certification for cabinets
- European standard EN15659 the protection of paper documents from fire
- European standard EN1047-1 the protection of data from fire and structural collapse
These are the logos of the four certification bodies with accreditation to ISO IEC17065 to certify safes to European standards you will most likely encounter on a genuine certification plate in Ireland.
The ultimate protection against misrepresentation and a legal proof of standard of burglary and fire resistance, accredited European certification is the most important factor in maintaining insurance cover long term, as well as being the basis for all insurance rate recommendations in Europe. When there is a need to ensure regulatory compliance, for the storage of important legal documents or data, anything less than accredited European certification and the legal proof of standard it provides can leave an organisation or individual vulnerable. European accredited certification for safes and strongrooms is backed by regular auditing, market surveillance and is verifiable, proof of standard for both insurance and litigation purposes.
If you consider that 70% of safes tested for burglary resistance by accredited European testing labs fail on the first attempt the practical implications of accepting unaccredited claims of burglary or fire resistance are also obvious.
What Accredited Certification Looks Like
A safe with properly accredited European certification of burglary resistance will display at least one stamped metal certification plate on the inside of the door. This will always be a stamped metal plate, never a sticker. An accredited certification plate for a safe will display the word "SAFE" and the standard EN1143-1, the logo of an accredited certification body (not the manufacturer), the burglary grade in Roman numerals, and most importantly, will often provide confirmation that the certification body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065. This is legal assurance that the certifier is accredited under European law. The same information will be available on accredited certification documents which are freely available and should always be asked for.
Fire resistance certification is always indicated completely separately to any burglary resistance certification plate that a safe or cabinet may have.
There is absolutely no connection between the grade of a safe and its fire resistance.
A safe or cabinet with properly accredited European certification of fire resistance will display at least one stamped metal fire resistance certification plate on the inside of the units door. This will always be a stamped metal plate, never a sticker. An accredited certification plate for a safe will display the words "Light Fire Storage Unit" and the standard EN15659 in cases where the unit is suitable for paper documents, or the words "Data Cabinet" and the standard EN1047-1 in cases where the unit is suitable for both paper documents and data. A fire resistance certification plate will also display the logo of an accredited certification body (not the manufacturer) and most importantly, will often provide confirmation that the certification body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065, a legal proof of standard under European law.
What Accredited European Certifications Mean
Below are logos of four certification bodies with European accreditation to certify safes. The example images of certification plates below them are from ECB-S and VDS but any of the four logos below may appear on a genuine certification plate.
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.
EN1143-2 is the burglary resistance standard for deposit safes - Grades in this standard currently range from I to V. Resistance to attack rises by 50% between grades. No deposit safe has a certification for fire resistance. A deposit safe that displays the certification standard EN1143-1 is a modified unit. Any previous certification the unit may have had is void as the safes barrier material will have been extensively breached. All certification plates on such a unit should be removed.
EN14450 is the burglary resistance standard for secure safe cabinets. Security levels in this standard range from S1 to S2, both of which have an attack resistance far lower than a grade 0 certified safe. Resistance to attack between S1 and S2 rises by 150% but it must be emphasised that only light hand tools are used in testing of these units. Certification for fire resistance will appear separately on such a unit. An EN14450 Secure Safe Cabinet is not a safe. An ethical safe supplier will never misrepresent an EN14450 Secure Safe Cabinet as a safe.
EN15659 is the “Light Fire Storage” certification standard (LFS). Units tested to this standard are designed to provide differing levels of protection against fire usually from 30 minutes (LFS30P) to 60 minutes (LFS60P). The certification plate for light fire storage will appear separately to a burglary resistance certification that may appear on the unit. Air humidity is not measure for this standard.
EN1047-1 is the data standard for safes and cabinets. S60P and S120P are standards for the protection of paper documents both having an internal temperature limit of 170°C during testing. Units marked S60D and S120D have an internal temperature limit of 70°C and a humidity limit of 85% during testing. Units marked S60DIS and S120DIS have an internal temperature limit of 50°C and a humidity limit of 85% during testing. Certification plates for this standard will appear separately to any burglary resistance certification that may appear on the unit
EN1143-1 is the burglary resistance standard for safes, strong rooms, and ATM safes. Grades for ATM safes in this standard currently range from I to IV. Resistance to attack rises by 50% between grades however the top of ATM safes, where electronics may be situated are not tested against attack. Overall attack survival times are up to 20% lower when compared to safes or strongrooms of the same grade.
EN1143-1 is the burglary resistance standard for safes, strong rooms, and ATM safes - Grades for strongrooms range from 0 to XIII. Grades for safes in this standard currently range from 0 to XIII. Resistance to attack generally rises by 50% between grades.
Both the strongroom and the strongroom door will display separate certification plates to avoid confusion between a room fitted with a strongroom door and an actual fully certified strongroom.
Certification for fire resistance will always appear separately to any burglary resistance certification that may appear on a strongroom.
Unaccredited Certifications To Watch Out For!
The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) (UK)
The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) (UK) is a mark commonly encountered in the Irish market. LPCB has issued "certification" plates for safes (European standard EN1143-1) and secure cabinets (European standard EN14450) for many years, despite the fact the body has never been an accredited certification body for the burglary resistance of safes, not even in the UK, according to the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). LPCB "certification" plates are in a similar format to properly accredited European certification, however, an ISO/IEC17065 accreditation which will be present on most accredited certification plates will be absent from an LPCB plate. The fact that LPCB claim to certify their own tests runs counter to any norms in Europe where both the tester and the certifier are legally required to be independent bodies. LPCB certification claims should not be confused with properly accredited European certification, which has a basis in European law as proof of standard, and on which all safe ratings in Europe are based.
Nordtest NT FIRE 017
The most common unaccreited mark you will come across in the Irish market is without doubt the NT FIRE 017 mark. NT FIRE 017 is a conformity assessment of Nordtest originally founded in 1973 under the Nordic Council of Ministers. This is NOT a European standard.
NT017 may be applied to safes and cabinets of identical construction to a tested unit, provided that the external volume of the untested units are not less than half of, and not more than twice the volume of the tested unit. This means in a series of five sizes it is usually only necessary that one unit is tested, leaving the majority of cabinets and safes marked NT017 in such a series not tested. Additionally internal heat during the NT017 test is measured by thermocouples (sensors used to measure temperature ) placed at the centre of internal panels rather than at the corners as is the case with European and US testing. This placement of thermocouples will of course produce a more favourable result as panels will heat from edges to the centre during a fire. Additionally, NT017 does not include a drop test to simulate structural collapse of the kind that would likely happen in an intense fire.
Certified Safes Ireland™ director Alan Donohoe Redd is a member of the European CEN263 Working Group responsible for writing European Standards for safes, strongrooms (vaults), secure cabinets and physical data protection for the European Union. A registered NATO supplier and a longstanding member of the European Security Systems Association, Alan has a vast range of experience spanning almost 40 years and encompassing installation of safes, strongrooms, physical data protection, CCTV, alarms, access control, secure storage control systems and Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) specification, design, and installation.
Alan is an expert on standards and fraud issues related to secure storage in Europe and the UK, has had articles related to these subjects published by The Law Society Gazette and Irish Broker Magazine, has forced retractions of multiple false claims related to secure storage offerings to the public, including some published by the Irish Times, and has been pivotal in having misleading standards and practises recognised and withdrawn in Ireland, the UK and at a European level.
N.A.T.O. Europe, The U.S. Air Force (Europe), PayPal (Worldwide), Grant Thornton, The Department Of Communications (NCSC Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Revenue Commissioners, Electricity Supply Board (Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Danish Defence Forces (Afghanistan), The Insurance Institute of Ireland, The Royal College Of Surgeons, BFC Bank, Interxion Data Centres, The Private Security Authority, Isle of Man Gold Bullion, Brown Thomas, Bvlgari, Boodles, Druids Glen, The Shelbourne Hotel, and many others ....
Alan's seminars on safes, strongrooms and HNW secure storage have been part of Continuing Professional Development for underwriters and insurers having been awarded CPD points by the Insurance Institute of Ireland and the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK).