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Call Us: + 353 (01) 7076011

isrg logo vds certification logo essa certification logo a2p certification logo

Call Us: + 353 (01) 7076011

  • About Us
  • Contact Us
  • Irish Insurance Rates (ISRG)
  • About European Certification
  • Services For Insurers
  • Safe Lock Videos
  • Testimonials
  • Blog

European Standards Checklist For Home Safes

A five point due-diligence checklist to protect your interests long term

Jewellery, watches, laptops, passports, personal data and cash are all prime targets for home burglars, yet these are the kinds of easily disposable assets that you will always want to have close to hand. The obvious answer to mitigating this risk is a properly installed home safe, however, while statutory regulation exists governing many aspects of the security industry, no similar regulation is in place for the safe industry. The unpalatable reality is that most safes bearing plates or badges claiming compliance with the European burglary resistance standard EN1143-1, do so without any accredited burglary resistance testing or certification whatsoever. 

If you consider that 70% of safes tested for burglary resistance by accredited European testing labs fail on the first attempt, the implications for your security of accepting unaccredited claims of burglary resistance for safes are obvious.


1. European Burglary Resistance Certification And What It Looks Like

European Law

EU Parliament regulation 765/2008 created the system that provides the legal basis of accreditation for the certification of safes to European standard EN1143-1. This system is backed by regular auditing and market surveillance and is verifiable, proof of standard for litigation purposes. A safe with properly accredited European certification 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 logo of an accredited certification body, burglary resistance grade, and most importantly 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.

Burglary Resistance For Safes EN1143-1


Indication Of Safe Certification Plate


A Common Unaccredited Burglary "Certification" To Watch Out For!

The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB)

LPCB has issued "certification" plates for safes (European standard EN1143-1) and secure cabinets (European standard EN14450) for many years, despite the fact LPCB 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.


2. Fire Resistance Certification

European Law

EU Parliament regulation 765/2008, the same system that provides the legal basis of accreditation for the certification of a safes burglary resistance to European standard EN1143-1 also provides the basis for the certification of a safe for the protection of paper documents or data from fire. 

Such certification will always be indicated separately under standard EN15659 (Light Fire) and EN1047-1 (Data). There is no connection whatsoever between the grade of a safe and the units fire resistance. As is the case with burglary resistance a safe with properly accredited European certification for fire resistance will display a stamped metal certification plate on the inside of the door with the units fire resistance and standard clearly marked. This will always be a stamped metal plate, never a sticker.

Fire Protection For Paper EN15659

data safe badge

Fire Resistant Safe


A Common Unaccredited Fire Standard To Watch Out For!

Nordtest NT FIRE 017

A very common mark in the Irish market, NT FIRE 017 is a Nordic conformity assessment that has several important differences with European standards. The standard 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 safe or cabinet sizes it is usually only necessary that one unit is tested. NT017 does not include a drop test to simulate structural collapse. Cooling curve monitoring is absent from the test, which can be a serious issue for those interested in securing digital media against the effects of fire, and there are also differences in how internal temperature during testing is measured that would not be acceptable under European standards. NTFIRE 017 is not a legal proof of standard for the fire resistance of safes and cabinets under European law.  


3. Anchoring A Safe To EN1143-1

 50kN Minimum Installation

EN1143-1 certification is void for a safe that has not been anchored but some safe installers idea of what constitutes “anchoring” can differ wildly from others. The benchmark for the correct anchoring of a certified safe is a replication of the laboratory test anchoring force. This means an anchor designed to achieve a holding force of 50kN (5.089 tons) for a safe up to grade III and 100kN (11.24 tons) over that grade, holding forces that rule out removing a safe under most circumstances. 

All certified safes come with a bolt suitable for achieving these anchoring forces, so it is really down to the installer of the safe being familiar with the correct anchoring method. As with certification, always ask for a certificate of anchorage with the anchoring force the installation was designed to achieve indicated on the document. If an installer can not tell you how such anchoring forces are to be achieved this should be a red flag.   

Anchoring A Small Safe


4. Safe Monitoring Via Local Alarm

 Choose A Safe Prepared For Alarm

An increasing number of people now choose to link their home safe directly with an intruder alarm system with the use of seismic sensors and to a lesser extent duress being the most popular options. Even if you do not intend to do this straight away, or your insurance company has not requested this integration, it is always a good idea to make sure the home safe and locking device you choose is prepared for intruder alarm, seismic sensor, and duress to future proof your investment. Many rudimentary safes on the market have no such preparation. With the exception of some of our smallest safes, most of our home and business safes come with certified alarm cable tracks and seismic sensor mounting preparation as standard. An alarm cable track can also be quite useful for running watch winder and interior lighting cables.

alarm for safes

Seismic Sensors

In the context of a safe, a seismic sensor is a small high security alarm signalling device that monitors vibration and temperature, specifically configured to detect prising attacks, drill attacks, cutting discs as well as hydraulic and thermal tools. When using seismic sensors on a safe, it is important to understand that these devices should be configured by an alarm installer to always be on, even if the alarm is switched off. Seismic sensors will not be triggered by normal safe use. At Certified Safes Ireland™ we recommend the installation of two EN50131 compatible seismic sensors as An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) alarm response guidelines require two verified intruder alarm sensor activations to trigger an alarm response. Having two sensors located inside the safe should therefore ensure you get response to an attempted burglary, even if the local alarm system is switched off.

Duress (Silent Alarm)

Most certified digital locks can be monitored via an alarm system via a certified and compatible Alarm Module. With an alarm module in place if you are put under any type of duress the addition of a digit to your normal access code when opening a safe will trigger a silent panic alarm. This is a very powerful tool if you are in a position where you may be held-up at home or work.

Wiring Should Be Invisible

A critically important aspect of the addition any type of alarm integration is that all wiring and alarm monitoring devices are kept inside the safe protected from tampering and unauthorised viewWiring on the outside of a safe is both an unnecessary and unacceptable security risk. It should not be accepted for the following reasons:


  • External wiring advertises the presence of alarm monitoring and the possibility of duress signalling to anyone who sees the safe.
  • Provides the opportunity to circumvent or tamper with the alarm devices or wiring.
  • If it is necessary to connect to a safe lock many technicians will drill through the barrier material of the safe, even the safe door, severely compromising the safe’s security as well as its certification for burglary resistance.
  • The possibility of accidental damage to the equipment, particularly in a commercial setting.
  • It is not the most attractive approach particularly for a residential or luxury safe.

In the case of the safe shown below there is no need for a door loop to carry cables within the safe as this particular model has an integrated VdS certified alarm cable channel. This safe is shown with a draw cable and in the second picture fitted with alarm cable housed inside a stainless steel cable protector.

draw cable Safe Alarm Cable


5. Digital V Mechanical Safe Locks

Safe Keys Are History

It has always been possible to open a mechanically locked safe by manipulation leaving no trace of entry. Both the knowledge and tools to defeat most mechanical safes locks are now very easily obtained and of course keys for safes are also easily copied, even from a photograph. In comparison, the penalty lockout feature of a certified digital safe lock shuts a safe lock down for ten minutes if four incorrect codes are entered in a row. With the ability to interface with duress and alarm modules, unavailable for a mechanical lock, mechanical access control for a safe has been phased out in most of Europe. The Irish Safes Ratings Group (ISRG) and An Garda Síochána recommend certified digital safe locking over mechanical for security reasons.

Opening A Safe With An S&G Lock

Always insist on a digital lock certified to European standard EN1300. If alarm integration is to be used in conjunction with the safe lock, all alarm integration components need to be certified to the European alarm standard EN50131 as alarm signalling devices, in order to elicit a police response.


Inspecting What You Expect

Five Point European Standards Checklist For Home Safes:

  1. Ask for certification documents for the burglary resistance of your safe displaying an ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation.
  2. Ask for certification documents for the fire resistance of your safe if that is required. This should also display an ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation.
  3. Ask for a certificate of anchorage to ensure the safe has been anchored to EN1143-1.
  4. Verify that any alarm signalling devices (if any) used on the safe are EN50131 compliant and installed without visible wiring.
  5. Ask for a certified digital lock certified to EN1300.


 For Advice Call: +353 1 7076011

Alan Redd Certified Safes Ireland NSAI

Certified Safes Ireland™ director Alan Donohoe Redd is a member of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) 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.

Our expertise has been relied on by:

N.A.T.O. Europe, The U.S. Air Force (Europe), The National Treasury Management Agency (Ireland), The Department Of Communications (NCSC Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Revenue Commissioners, Electricity Supply Board (Cyber Security) (Ireland), The Danish Defence Forces (Afghanistan), PayPal (Worldwide), Grant Thornton, 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 ....

Our 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).

Insurance Institute of Ireland Insurance Institute of London nato cage code


Due Diligence Notes

 Most Locksmiths Know Very Little About Safes

Contrary to what many people may believe the profession of "Locksmith" has long been recognised as one almost completely separate from the supply and installation of safes and strongrooms in the E.U. With most insurers and An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) advising against the use of mechanical locks on safes due to the ease of opening via non-invasive manipulation, the last connection between these two professions is quickly disappearing. There are exceptions to every rule, and a locksmith may have the necessary knowledge to correctly specify, survey for, and anchor a certified safe, however, most locksmiths have very little knowledge in relation to European standards for safes and The Private Security Authority (PSA) does not require any qualifications to issue a locksmith license.

Pitfalls & Scams In The Safe Supply Industry

Ireland and the UK are notorious black spots for fraud and misrepresentation in the safe supply sector. Well-known safe suppliers being penalised for tax evasion and having served time in jail are just some indications of a wide range of malpractice and illegal activity throughout the safe supply industry. We strongly encourage due diligence before engaging a safe supplier or having someone survey your home or business, irrespective of who recommends them.