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 and for certain types of businesses ensuring regulatory compliance. 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 (The Safe Standard) and related standards such as EN15659 (Light Fire Standard) and EN1047-1 (The Data Standard). 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.
What Accredited European Burglary And Fire Resistance Certification Looks Like
EU Parliament regulation 765/2008 created the system that provides the legal basis of accreditation for the certification of safes for both fire and burglary resistance to European standards. This system is backed by regular auditing and market surveillance and is verifiable, proof of standard for litigation purposes. If you consider that 70% of safes tested for burglary resistance by accredited European testing labs fail on the first attempt the implications of accepting unaccredited claims of burglary or fire resistance are obvious.
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 or fire 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.
If a safe is certified for both burglary and fire resistance this will be indicated on two separate plates.
Below are logos of the four certification bodies with European accreditation to certify safes for burglary resistance that you are likely to encounter on a genuine certification plate in Ireland.
In the current market the majority of safes and cabinets that safe suppliers claim have an accredited certification of fire resistance have no such certification whatsoever. Often this is a side-effect of an ignorance of fire resistance standards for safes but as is the case with burglary resistance certification, technically there is nothing illegal about stating that a particular safe has a certain fire resistance as it may simply be a statement of opinion, so it is of primary importance that when it is claimed that a safe has fire resistance, we always ask, has the fire resistance claim been tested and certified, and if so, certified by who?
Below are logos of the two certification bodies with European accreditation to certify safes for fire resistance that you are likely to encounter on a genuine certification plate in Ireland.
Recognising Accredited European Certification
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. In the case of strongrooms 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 appear separately to any burglary resistance certification that may appear on a strongroom.
Common Unaccredited Burglary And Fire Resistance Marks
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 017The 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).
Due Diligence Notes
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.
Ireland and the UK are notorious black spots for fraud and misrepresentation in the safe supply sector. In 2021 and 2022 two well-known safe suppliers in Ireland were found guilty of fraud. One supplier had already spent time in jail, the other is still the official, "chairman" of a safe supplier organisation that claims to represent Irish safe suppliers. Both individuals are still working in the safe supply business and are advertising on the internet. These prosecutions represent just the tip of an iceberg of malpractice and illegal activity throughout the safe supply industry, so we strongly encourage due diligence before engaging a safe supplier or having someone survey your home or business, irrespective of who recommends them.