There has been a great deal of misleading information regarding European certification and testing circulating within the safe and vault industry in general but the problem is particularly acute in Ireland.
Many people confuse in house testing or manufacturer testing with proper accredited European testing to the detriment of both the customer and the industry.
There is also the problem of misleading information being intentionally circulated by individuals and organisations in Ireland and the UK to promote the sale of untested safes with no proven resistance to attack or second hand safes which will often contain asbestos and other harmful substances.
First off, it’s important to understand that there is a big difference in being accredited to test and being accredited to certify safes and strong rooms.
These are two completely separate issues.
Accredited testing laboratories in Europe must have accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17025 to carry out testing of the specific security products being tested in accordance with the relevant European standards.
European bodies certifying safes must have accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17065 to carry out the certification of the specific security products they are certifying. These standards are required for, management of impartiality, ensuring non-discriminatory conditions and to verify structural requirements so that results can be relied on.
The basic requirements are;
Accredited testing can only take place in an authorised testing laboratory conforming to ISO/IEC 17025 that has passed an external audit by an accredited certification body. Accredited testing never takes place at a factory or in an uncontrolled environment such as a warehouse or workshop. These type of tests are commonly called in-house tests and are conducted for a manufacturers own purposes. These tests have no accredited basis.
Once the test are complete - An external certification body who witness the tests then study the test report and makes its decision on the grading of the unit. Additional tests are often deemed necessary. The reasons for these tests are justified to the applicant in writing.
Note* European certification bodies carry out periodical external quality surveillance audits at all safe and strong room manufacturing plants which produce certified products during which it is ascertained whether production is based on the approved technical documentation. In addition, the auditor ascertains whether the manufacturing company uses a certified quality management system according to ISO 9001 (EN ISO 9001) as a basis of production.
Type tests on safes comprise
On safes according to EN 1143-1, attacks for partial and complete access are carried out.
For complete access, the required minimum resistance value is approx. 50 per cent higher since, in this case, the criminal gains access to the total contents of the safe. With partial access, he has only access to the valuables which he can reach with his hands through the walls.
Safes with a weight of <1,000 kg need to be anchored at the place of installation. They are subjected to an anchoring test. On safes of specific resistance grades, in addition an optional test with the core drill (CD), with explosives (EX) and gas (GAS) can be made.
The requirements for S1 and S2 secure safe cabinets to EN 14450 are lower than 1143-1. Freestanding secure safe cabinets must pass an anchoring test. The aim of tests made on wall cabinets is to remove the total product. For both cabinet types, tests are required for access to the interior of the cabinet through the door and the cabinet body (for wall cabinets through that part of the cabinet body that is not surrounded by the wall).
CEN’s National Members are the National Standardization Bodies (NSBs) of the 28 European Union countries, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Turkey plus three countries of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland).Standards development is undertaken by Working Groups (WGs) where experts, appointed by the CEN Members but speaking in a personal capacity, come together and develop a draft that may become a future standard.
This reflects an embedded principle of ‘direct participation’ in the standardization activities. Workshops are particularly relevant in emerging or rapidly-changing technologies that require quickly-developed specifications or results of research projects. Developed standards are drafted and brought forward for voting CEN’s National Members.
European certification bodies testing safes must have accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17065 to carry out the certification of the specific security products they are testing in accordance with the relevant European standards.
ISO/IEC 17065 is the official replacement of the standard EN 45011. This is the conformity assessment requirement for bodies certifying products, processes and services.
The only testing organizations who can issue valid European certification for EN14450, EN1143-1 and EN1143-2 standards at present are:
CNPP – France – Cert mark is A2P www.cnpp.com
ECBS – Germany www.ecb-s.com
SBSC – Sweden www.sbsc.se
VdS – Germany www.vds.de
Official testing time is the calculated time (no breaks, no disc changes etc. included). Depending on the attack used and the skill of the burglar real burglary attack time is higher. For drilling attacks it must be remembered that the tester knows exactly where to drill and has studied a detailed schematic to plan the attack. The tester knows in advance the thickness of metal, the position of locks and the position of re-lockers.
Official testing time for S2 secure cabinet is 2.5 minutes however depending on the attack used and the skill of the burglar the real burglary time is usually 3 to 4 times higher.
For S1 and S2 cabinets only “hand tools” are used. Primarily;1,5 kg hammer , Chisel, Crow bar < 730 mm , Bolt cropper, Hand saws, Wedges, Punches, Screwdriver, cordless drill (approx. 500 W) “normal” drill bits.(In the EN 1143-1 this tool category is called “A“)
The next tool categories B, C and D can be used in all EN 1143-1 tests.
Category B tools are primarily;
3 kg hammer ,1,5 m crow bar, Small disc grinder (125 mm disc), 800 W drilling machine with or without impact option with carbide tipped drills, 800 W building hammer ,Thermic cutter with 50 l/min (this tool is the fiercest tool in this category)
Category C tools are primarily;
Disc grinder (230 mm disc), 1350 W drilling machine with or without impact option with carbide tipped drills, 1350 W building hammer, Thermal cutter with 250 l/min
Category D tools are primarily;
Core Drill, Thermic cutter with 750 l/min, Oxy Arc cutting machine with 750 l/min, Thermic Lance with 750 l/min
In actual testing the EN 1143-1 tester has access to nearly 200 tools. The tools listed above se are just the most common tools used by the testers
Between S1 and S2 the resistance level rises by 250%From S2 on the resistance value increases by 150% per grade.