- Having problems identifying a safe?
- Have concerns regarding an offering from a safe supplier?
- Confused by contradictory information coming from various official sounding sources regarding certified burglary resistance?
- Unsure regarding the basis of rate recommendations?
At Certified Safes Ireland™ we have years of experience and documented expertise in spotting issues that may affect the security and burglary resistance certification of a safe, data safe or strongroom that others might miss.
This expertise is free and easily accessible to all underwriters and insurers. We are happy to address any inquiry, provide a written expert opinion on substantive issues and provide certified, state of the art solutions where required.
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. The ultimate protection against misrepresentation and a legal proof of standard of burglary 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. 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 resistance are obvious.
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.
A safe with properly accredited European certification of burglary resistance will display at least one stamped metal certification plate with one of these logos 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" , the standard EN1143-1, and the logo of an accredited certification body (not the manufacturer), the burglary resistance grade in Roman numerals, and most importantly, will often provide confirmation that the certification body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065.
There are five distinct the factors that Certified Safes Ireland™ always address to ensure a safe and its installation are up to the highest standards of burglary resistance and are covered by a legal proof of standard for litigation purposes. These factors can perhaps be most easily recalled by remembering the acronym CAALM.
Certification – All properly certified safes, cabinets, data units and strongrooms will display at least one accredited certification plate that is clear and easy to understand. Certification plates should state the products' description and indicate the standard to which the unit has been certified. This information will always be displayed on a stamped metal plate never a sticker. If no such plate is present or a sticker is displayed claiming a particular standard or grade, this should be a red flag that something is not as it should be. One thing in particular to watch out for is the “Secure Safe Cabinet” standard EN14450 which is often confused with the “Safe” standard EN1143-1. A certification plate will always state the type of product. Secure cabinets are NOT safes and are much more vulnerable to burglary attack, consequently, most European jurisdictions do not give insurance ratings to these units.
Accreditation - 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. Stamped metal certification plates found on all safes, cabinets and strongrooms with properly accredited European certification will display the logo of an accredited certification body and often confirmation that the certification body is accredited to ISO/IEC 17065. Something to watch out for in this regard are LPCB “certification plates”. LPCB (UK) have never been accredited to certify safes.
Anchoring - 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.
Locking - 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 safe locks are 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. Certification documents for safe locking devices are freely available. Particularly if a safe is to be electronically integrated into a home for alarm monitoring or audit purposes, ask for a copy of the lock’s certification to EN1300.
Monitoring - It is important to realise that most certified digital safe locks have duress signalling capability built in that can provide a client with the opportunity to send a silent panic signal directly from a safe’s keypad. Most people are familiar with duress or panic alarm signalling but seismic sensors are far more potent devices for reducing risk. Faced with a properly anchored certified safe, a burglar has to deal with what, for all practical purposes is an immovable object. The only recourse being heavy-duty power tools or a heat attack, such as an oxyacetylene torch. Both low cost and easy to install, seismic sensors are always on, even if the alarm system is switched off. These sensors will detect prising, cutting, drilling and heat attacks, while not being triggered by normal use of the safe. This is why seismic sensors are the most powerful risk reducing addition to any home safe and why a reputable safe supplier needs to be familiar with them. As is the case with certification and anchoring, ask for documentation confirming that any alarm integration devices used to monitor a safe are certified to alarm standard EN50131.
Do not accept wireless alarm devices fitted to a safe. Wireless sensors can be subject to interference, battery failure and being deliberately blocked, unlike wired devices powered from the alarm system itself, however, the fact that wireless devices need to be mounted outside a safe advertises the fact that such integration is present, increasing the expediency of duress tactics being used, putting the consumer at additional unnecessary risk.
The Private Security Authority licenses alarm installation in the Republic of Ireland on the basis on European standard EN50131. The standard requires all components to be certified compliant with the standard. An uncertified alarm signalling device installed as part of the system voids compliance and even leaves both the installer and the client open to prosecution. An Garda Síochána (Irish Police) will not respond to an unlicensed alarm system or an unverified alarm activation. To trigger a response from An Garda Síochána a monitoring station must verify that an alarm is genuine and not a malfunction. This can be done in a number of ways, but in the context of a safe we need two sensor activations. As most safes come with multiple sensor mounts, this is a straightforward install for a qualified and licensed alarm installer.
1. Certification - Make sure the unit is certified as a ”Safe” to standard EN1143-1
2. Accreditation – Ensure the safe’s certification plate displays an ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation or the logo of a body accredited to certify the burglary resistance of safes.
3. Anchoring - Ask for a certificate of anchorage stating the safe has been anchored with a method designed to achieve at least 50kN.
4. Locking - Confirm the main safe locking device is certified to EN1300.
5. Monitoring - Verify that any alarm signalling devices (if any) used on the safe are EN50131 compliant.
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).