Safes, strongrooms and secure safe cabinets

Safes, strongrooms and secure safe cabinets are designed for the secure storage of cash and valuables but may also be used to secure other high risk assets, including secure information.

The safes, strongrooms and security cabinets listed by LPCB are graded according to their resistance to manual intervention attack tests. These are undertaken by experienced laboratory test engineers using tools carefully selected to achieve access to the contents of the safe using the minimum time and resistance units possible.

 

Domestic safes and those typically fitted in hotel bedrooms should generally be graded in accordance with EN 14450 Secure storage units - Requirements, classification and methods of test for resistance to burglary - Secure safe cabinets.

Commercial safes and strongrooms are either graded in accordance with LPS 1183 Requirements and testing procedures for the LPCB approval and listing of safe storage units - Part 1: Safes and strongrooms or EN 1143-1 Secure storage units - Requirements, classification and methods of test for resistance to burglary - Part1: Safes, strongroom doors and strongrooms.

Specifiers should consider ensuring safes used for cash recycling (either automated or manual) are approved to:

  • EN 1143-1 to ensure any automated cash issuing devices do not undermine the safes resistance to forced entry attacks.
  • EN 1143-2 to ensure the safe itself and depository systems resist forced entry and fishing/trapping attacks respectively.

Deposit safes 
These are graded in accordance with EN 1143-2 Secure storage units - Requirements, classification and methods of test for resistance to burglary - Part 2: Deposit systems.

Deposit safes take a number of forms and these affect the classification attributed to them. Deposit safes are normally located within a building and are primarily designed to enable employees to deposit money or other items without having to open the main door of the safe. Deposit safes receive a classification of "D-#" where # is the grade of resistance achieved during testing.

Deposit safes range from standard deposit safes with manual operation through to the distributed deposit systems employed by supermarkets.

Night safes, on the other hand, are often accessible from the street and are primarily used by financial institutions for providing a secure depositing system for their customers. Night safes receive a classification of "N-#" where # is the grade of resistance achieved during testing.

Strongrooms
Strongrooms take two forms:

  • Cast in-situ. The strongroom structure is cast on site where there is insufficient access to manoeuvre prefabricated panels into place.
  • Pre-fabricated. The strongroom is formed on site from pre-fabricated panels, designed to bolt together securely to form the desired configuration.
Strongrooms are not only designed to secure larger volumes of cash and jewellery but are increasingly used to store items such as artwork and antiquities, pharmaceuticals, military equipment and highly sensitive documentation. Strongrooms are also increasingly being used to protect large scale IT server hubs due to the high value of the server equipment and business continuity risks associated with the potential loss of such equipment or data.

It is important to ensure that all exposed fixings, jointing plates, the substrate into which the device is fitted and the locking mechanisms are regularly checked to ensure that they are in good condition and that they have not been tampered with.

It is also important to ensure only those design options listed, such as special cable access or ventilation panels, are incorporated within the strongroom construction as the use of alternative options may undermine the level of security provided by the strongroom.

Cash and Jewellery Ratings

Table 1 indicates typical cash and jewellery ratings attributed to safes and strongrooms according to their approved resistance grade. These ratings should only be used as a guide since each insurer defines their own ratings depending on the performance of the safes and the situation in which the safes and strongrooms are to be used. Specifiers are strongly advised to discuss the issue of cash and jewellery ratings with their insurer prior to selecting a safe or strongroom.

Table 1: Typical Cash and Jewellery Ratings for Safes and Strongrooms

StandardResistance
grade
Typical overnight
cash rating (£k)
Typical overnight
jewellery rating (£k)
EN 14450S1220
 S2440
LPS 1183 and0660
EN 1143-1I10100
 II27.5175
 III35350
 IV60600
 V1001000
 VI1501500
 VII to XIII--

Compatible Locks
The locks that have been approved for use on each of the approved safes and strongrooms are listed in the 'compatible locks' section of each manufacturer’s entry in the Red Book. Specifiers and end users are advised that the performance of the safes to the relevant standards is dependent on them being fitted with the locks listed.

Installation and maintenance
It is important to ensure that safes are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and that all exposed fixings, the substrate into which the device is fitted and the locking mechanisms are regularly checked to ensure that they are in good condition and that they have not been tampered with.

Explosion (EX) Designation
This optional designation is only applicable to safes achieving grades II and above. This designation indicates a product offers resistance to detonation of a PETN (Pentaerythritol tetranitrate) explosive charge followed by post detonation tool attacks aimed at achieving entry to the safe. Where the use of explosive charges is perceived to be a threat it is recommended products with this designation are selected.

Core Drill (CD) Designation
This optional designation is only applicable to safes achieving grades IV and above to EN 1143-1. This designation reflects the ability of a product to pass the diamond drill test specified within EN 1143-1, which is designed to demonstrate the product’s superior resistance to methods of forced entry that solely involve the use of diamond core drills.

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