Standards and classifications

When buying a new vault or safe, it is important to know what you want to protect your property against. Against fire, break-in or both? And what requirements must the safe satisfy? The following information can help you with this.

Protection against fire

Fire-resistant cabinets
Fire-resistant cabinets protect the contents against fire for a given duration at a given temperature. A fire-resistant cabinet is intended for the storage of paper. Paper is combustible at approximately 175°C. Data is already lost at approximately 50°C. So in a cabinet that is tested for protection of paper against fire, you should not store cd-roms, USB sticks or backup disks. That's what data safes are for.

Data safes
A data safe or fire-resistant data safe protects magnetic carriers of information such as cd, microfilm, USB sticks and backup hard disks against fire, gases, dust, moisture, ash particles and magnetic fields. And it protects against humidity of more than 85% in the cabinet (also detrimental to carriers of information).

The cabinet is tested to see whether it protects the entire contents against temperatures of up to 1090°C. Using a drop test, the cabinet is also tested for whether it can survive a fall through one storey in practice.

Classification Fire resistance
30P 30 minutes of fire resistance for paper
60P 60 minutes of fire resistance for paper
90P 90 minutes of fire resistance for paper
120P 120 minutes of fire resistance for paper
60DIS 60 minutes of fire resistance for data
120DIS 120 minutes of fire resistance for data

Protection against break-in

Value storage indication
The value storage indication indicates the value up to which cash in the safe will be covered by insurance. The presumption here is the storage of cash in a break-in resistance cabinet or safe in an uninhabited, unguarded and non-secured building within the city limits. Depending on the security measures taken, insurers may deviate from the coverage indication.

lamp2 Check whether your insurance company will agree to the value storage indication of your safe. Environmental factors can either lower or raise the value that will be insured.

Security level according to EN 14 450
The European EN 14 450 standard was developed to classify the prevalent types of break-in resistant cabinets. These cabinets are mainly intended for the storage of daily cash and are used by private individuals.

Classification Value storage indication
Security level 1 (S1) € 2,500
Security level 2 (S2) € 5,000

uitroeptekenMany S1 and S2 cabinets are single-walled and provide no protection against fire.

European class break-in resistance (for freestanding cabinets)
Do you want to protect your property better against break-ins? Then choose a product that has been tested using the European standards for break-in resistance quality: the CENEN 1143-1 standard. In the Netherlands, this is the NEN-EN 1143-1 norm.

For testing break-in resistant cabinets, one or more openings are made in the product by testers who have the relevant knowledge and skills. The results are transposed into a resistance value that takes into account the factors of time and of the tool used.

The resistance of a break-in resistant cabinet against a penetration attempt is expressed in resistance units (RU). The higher the RU number, the higher the resistance and the higher the level of protection that the break-in resistant cabinet offers. Based on the measured RU, the break-in resistant cabinet is classified and certified in a so-called resistance class.

Classification Value storage indication Resistance units
(complete opening)
CEN 0 € 7,000 30
CEN 1 € 9,000 50
CEN 2 € 23,000 80
CEN 3 € 36,000 120
CEN 4 € 55,000 180
CEN 5 € 82,000 270
CEN 6 € 91,000 400
CEN 7 request insurer 600
CEN 8 request insurer 825
CEN 9 request insurer 1050
CEN 10 request insurer 1350


A couple of comments with regard to classifications

Choice of tool
The big question is: which tool do the testers choose? Consider: the testers test a CEN class 3 cabinet. According to the standard, this must achieve 120 resistance units. Each type of tool that the testers use has basis points. A crowbar has five basis points, a diamond core drill has 245 basis points. No tester will ever use the drill as this falls far outside the standard. A burglar, however, has very different considerations!

What is more important: standards or delay time?

In our view, the concept of delay time after detection is essential. And the classification scale - certainly for the mid- and higher risk segments - is pointless. For testers you can prescribe which type of attack weapon they may use or not. Not for criminals.

The standard takes no account of an important component of the delay time for a freestanding safe: its weight. Still, everyone knows that a break-in resistant cabinet of 300 kg can be stolen more easily and quickly than a cabinet of 1200 kg or more. In general, the criminal has two possibilities: he can break the safe open where it stands or he can take the safe in its entirety with him and open it elsewhere. This last option occurs more and more frequently. The so-called hit and run job is easier with a light cabinet than with a heavy cabinet. In practice, anchoring safes is often no more than a weak attempt to compensate for the lightness of the safe.

The CEN norm prescribes that safes under 1000 kg be anchored. Anchoring only makes sense when the anchor and the floor in which the anchor is mounted have the same resistance. This is often not the case, which makes the anchoring easy to break. A 1200 kg safe remains 1200 kg, even if the anchoring is broken. And it's tough to take away with a dolly, so the retreat takes more time than with a 300 kg cabinet. Weight helps the desired time of delay.

Well-documented criminals
From a High Security standpoint, we have doubts about safes with a CEN classification. Because these products become known precisely as a result of their being tested. Test institutes get the construction drawings so that testers know what they're attacking. This information can also end up in other hands. Van den Hoogen Security has been opening safes, vault doors and break-in resistant cabinets for years. We can do this because all the ins and outs are known to us and documented as well. This same often applies for top criminals, too. Opening a bank vault neatly and quickly is standard work for us. The opening time for a non-tested, non-documented vault is many times longer. Why? Because we first have to understand the thoughts of the builder and be careful for built-in traps.

Standard wherever possible, bespoke when there's high risk
Do you run an increased risk of break-in? Then the purchase of a standard products is not advisable. We design bespoke products such as safes, safe doors and compartments with built-in traps and special resistance materials that surprise criminals. The flipside of not having safes be standard is that our safe openers then need more time to open these products neatly in case of emergencies.

Our vision

Using the CEN certification scales alone is not enough. This list is based on assumptions and on a point system that makes criminals laugh. The recommendation for a company with a lot of cash (€36,000) is CEN 3, without a direct link to delay time and weight. It's no surprise that things often go wrong in practice. The safe has already been cracked or removed before the police have arrived. At that point, they can only do an 'autopsy'. In our view, security stands or falls with the coherence among the security measures taken.

schildgroenDo you want your belongings to be truly secure? Then call us on +31 26 361 09 09 or send us an e-mail.