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European Testing & Certification

European Standards Safes

There is a great deal of misleading information regarding European certification and testing still circulating within the safe and strongroom industry and consequently, also among some insurers who may rely on the guidance of individuals and business with which they have a relationship. It's always best to check the facts.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that many people in the industry confuse unaccredited testing or manufacturer testing, which has no legal basis or assurance of non-biased practices, conditions or even the competence with the accredited European testing and certification regime.

European Parliament regulation 765/2008 is the legal basis for accredited European certification of secure storage throughout Europe and this includes, safes (EN1143-1), deposit systems (EN1143-2), strongrooms (EN1143-1), secure cabinets (EN14450), and data safes (EN15659 + EN1047-1/2). 

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. Both of these standards are required for, management of impartiality, ensuring non-discriminatory conditions and to verify structural requirements so that results can be relied on.

Basic requirements for accredited laboratories are:

  • Accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17025
  • Certified quality management system
  • Auditing by at least one accredited external certification body
  • Comparison tests in the respective field of competence ISO/IEC 17025, the main ISO standard used by testing and calibration laboratories for which laboratories must hold accreditation in order to be deemed technically competent.

This covers;

  • Management of impartiality
  • Non-discriminatory conditions
  • Structural requirements
  • From 15 September 2015 on, the ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17025 are the only valid standards for legal accreditation in the E.U.

Where are the tests conducted? 

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. 

How are the tests conducted? 

  • Examination of specimen and documentation for vulnerabilities
  • Elaboration of a program of attack
  • Preliminary test
  • Analysis of preliminary test result and definition of the final test
  • Final test
  • Test report issued which contains details on all phases

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.

What are the tests?

Type tests on safes comprise 

  • Attacks for partial and complete access – 112mm / 315mm
  • Anchoring tests
  • Additional tests with core drills, explosives and gas

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).

How are tests updated?

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.


Who is authorised to certify testing of safes and strong rooms?

  • ECB-S – Germany
  • VdS Schadenverhütung GmbH – Germany
  • CNPP Centre National de Prévention et de Protection – France
  • SBSC Svensk – Sweden
essa certification logo vds certification logo a2p certification logo SBSC certification logo

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.

This covers;

  • Management of impartiality 
  • Non-discriminatory conditions 
  • Structural requirements

What are valid certification marks?

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

What the different grades mean?

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.

For example:

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.