Safes in the Spotlight: A Safe Buyer’s Guide
By Orlando Barry
Aug 29, 2013
We often talk of multi-layered solutions when it comes to security and a safe is an important layer in your security armoury.
When buying a safe you’ll find yourself faced with a great deal of choice, not least the size, weight and type whether key lock or digital. It is likely that your insurer has stipulated certain specifications to validate your cover, and these will vary depending on the nature of your business, the type of premises you have, your location and possibly other security measures you have in place.
Choosing the Right Protection
Safes not only vary in size and weight, but also in the degree of protection they afford against attack, and they are graded accordingly. Cash ratings, valuables / jewellery ratings and fire ratings are all variables you’ll need to consider, or may be asked by your insurance provider to adhere to.
Safe grades start at 0 with a cash rating of £6,000 and valuables cover up to £60,000, and go up to 6 where you’ll get a cash rating of up to £150,000 and valuables up to £1.5 million. Fire resistance also varies depending on the grade and this will go up to a maximum of 120 minutes.
The Importance of Professional Safe Installation
As well as meeting the specifications of your insurer in selecting the right grade of safe, there is something else of vital importance to consider: installation. Insurers will usually issue guidelines as to how and where the safe is installed, so it’s vital to enlist a professional safe installation expert who understands the demands of insurers, otherwise you could face serious issues should you come to make a claim.
Safe Specifications Explained
When you’re looking at safe specifications, as well as the above mentioned cash, valuables and fire ratings, you’ll often see a variety of references to certifications, such as EN, BS, ISO, AIS and Eurosafe UK. These all act to reinforce the gradings given to each safe by the testing houses.
EN refers to European Standards and if you see a safe specified as EN1143-1 then you’ll be assured it has been tested and approved for burglar resistance by an authority body, such as the Loss Prevention Certification Board (more on this organisation later).
BS refers to British Standards and a safe approved to BS476 Part 22 will offer fire protection up to the stipulated time, such as 60 or 90 minutes.
ISO is the International Standards Organisation, a body responsible for quality management worldwide. Look out for ISO 9001:2008 which is an audited quality standard and means the manufacturer has met certain stringent quality measures during the engineering and manufacture of the product.
AIS is the Association of Insurance Surveyors. Safes approved by the AIS meet strict insurance industry guidelines.
Eurosafe UK is an association of safe manufacturers whose members must adhere to a strict code of conduct whereby they must manufacture and supply only high quality, insurance approved products.
The Loss Prevention Certification Board
We mentioned the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) and this is a very important organisation for the security industry. The LPCB was established over a century ago as a guidance, testing and approval service for manufacturers of fire protection systems. After the 1980s it expanded its operation to include security products.
LPCB testing and assessment processes are incredibly rigorous. Approval of any product, and its entry into the LPCB list of approved fire and security products, known as the ‘Red Book’, usually follows testing by world renowned testing laboratories so that the buyer of the end product can be assured they are receiving the right level of security and protection.
Custom Safe Solutions
At Barry Bros Security we offer a custom made option to suit any specific insurance graded requirements.
We can also help if you are looking to fit a safe into a specific sized or awkward location, or in an area with loading restrictions and we offer a professional, insurance-compliant safe installation service to ensure you meet the requirements of your insurer in all areas.
For expert advice on selecting the right safe for your needs please get in touch or call in to our London security showroom to browse our display of safes in person.