EN 1300 – Unlocking the standard

As with all security products, safe locks are certified to industry agreed standards. The information below covers how safe locks are certified, and why it is important.

Standards. Safe standards. Lock standards.

Standards are almost (but not quite) as impenetrable as the safes themselves, or as indecipherable as the codes locking away our assets. Once all the acronyms, numbers, documents and dates are stripped away, there is one simple fact that remains: Standards are there for a reason.

To quote the BSI, standards are:

“the distilled wisdom of people with expertise in their subject matter”.

British Standards Institute

EN 1300 is the classification for high security locks according to their resistance to unauthorized opening. The standard was first published in 2004. It covers locks which are suitable for use in safes, strongrooms and ATMs that are certified to EN 14450, EN 1143-1 or EN 1143-2.

There are 4 classes of high security lock:

  • A (Which has the lowest security requirement)
  • B
  • C
  • D (Which has the highest security requirement)

Locks may be:

  • Key locks
  • Mechanical combination locks
  • Electronic combination locks

The EN 1300 standard does not just certify the level of security, but also considers reliability. For example, every lock must be in its normal condition after having been unlocked and locked 10,000 times. Or a mechanical combination lock must be operating normally after the code has been changed 100 times.

EN 1300 Requirements

Full and detailed information about the classification of EN 1300 locks is available in the British Standards Institute publication BS EN 1300:2018, which can be purchased directly from BSI. The standard is also available from other European national standards organisations.

In very general terms, some of the requirements are:

Codes

  • A minimum number of usable codes are specified depending on class and type, for example, a class A electronic lock must have 80,000 usable codes.
  • If the code is mnemonic (remembered rather that cut into a key) it must be possible for it to be changed, and it can only be changed by entry of the original code. In most electronic locks, the manager / master or supervisor user can only delete a user code, they cannot change it.
  • It must not be possible for any devices fitted to the lock to be used to obtain information about the code.

Blocking

  • The lock must be fitted with a blocking device (the bolt).
  • Where the bolt is not moved manually, i.e. by the keypad, a key, a knob or by the boltwork handle; there must be a means to indicate that the lock is secured and the code is scrambled, such as a visual or acoustic signal.

Key locks

  • A manufacturer cannot repeat a code (the cut of a key), until at least 80% of the usable codes have been used.
  • Codes must be chosen at random, and the code cannot be identified by markings on the key.
  • The key cannot be removed from the lock when it is in the open position.
  • The key must not break under a force of less than 2.5nm.

Electronic Locks

  • A Class B lock or higher with more than 2 user codes must include an audit facility, the number of events that must be stored in a non-volatile memory is dependent on the class.
  • In class C and D any attempt to manipulate the input unit or keypad must be recorded in the audit.
  • Any attempt to guess at codes must be limited by a number of attempts per hour, dependent on class. This is normally managed by the penalty, whereby a number of failed attempts results in a time penalty which prevents any attempt to enter a code. The requirements specify that there must be a means of indicating when the penalty is active.
  • If the lock is powered by a battery, a full battery must allow at least 3,000 openings.
  • The processing unit that handles the codes must be stored inside the secure container – codes are always recognised in the lock, and never in the keypad or input unit.

Other Tests

Various other factors are considered during testing, such as:

  • Manipulation resistance
  • Destructive burglary resistance
  • Spying resistance
  • Electrical and electromagnetic resistance
  • Vibration and shock resistance
  • Temperature resistance
  • Fails secure

All of these factors have minimum requirements depending on their class, and where a lock’s performance cannot be measured by recognised scales such as force or frequency range, RU (Resistance Units) are used.

Installation & Operating Instructions

Another of the main parameters for assessment of EN 1300 locks is clear and concise instruction from the manufacturer as to correct installation and operation. This is an absolute necessity given that the lock’s overall performance can be seriously affected by poor installation, or unsecure operation.

Manufacturer’s installation instructions must include, amongst other things, such details as:

  • Dimensions of the bolt head
  • Torque for the fixing screws
  • Position, shape and size for keyholes, spindle holes and cabling bores
  • Guidelines for secure storage of keys
  • The requirement to use complex codes that are not related to personal data
  • The need to test new codes with the container door open.

The Lock List

ECBS, a European testing house, has conveniently compiled a list of high security locks that have been graded according to EN 1300. The list can be found here. The list includes the locks that ECBS have themselves certified, and also lists the locks which have been certified by other accredited bodies who are authorised to certify locks to EN 1300 standard such as Vds.

Considerations for installing locks

The lock must be approved by the manufacturer

It should be noted that not all EN 1300 locks can be fitted to all secure storage containers. As part of gaining EN 14450, EN 1143-1 or EN 1143-2 certification, the safe or container manufacturer must specify which locks are compatible in the technical details of the certificate. This brings about the question of refurbishing or upgrading locks on a certified safe. It must be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s specification of compatible locks.

Locks and Input Units

The certificate of an EN 1300 lock will always stipulate the input / keypad or entry that the lock is compatible with. This is fundamental to the security of the entire system and in some cases, can change the class of lock. For example, the LA GARD 1947 combination lock is only rated as class C when installed with the spy-proof 1730 or 1731 dial.

Other safe certification

In the UK, insurers also recognise the grading of safes according to LPS 1183, details of which can be found here. This standard is dated 2014 and notes in clause 4.1.1 – Locking, that locking requirements will be specified in later issues of LPS 1183 when a European Standard for Safes Locks (CEN TC 263) is available. That standard is available – it is EN 1300!

All safes which carry LPS 1183 certification must specify which locks can be used on their certificate, and certificates are available to view on the Redbook live website here

Conclusion

EN 1300, as with the standards used to certify safes, ensures that the consumer is receiving a product that has been independently assessed for its level of security by recognised certification bodies and associated laboratories. Not only does EN 1300 set a benchmark for consumers to make informed choices about their locking solutions, it is a simple requirement of the main European and UK standards of safe certification.

Safelock Systems Ltd

Safelock Systems Ltd is a trade distributor of high security locks for safes and secure storage units. We stock high security locks from EN 1300 manufacturers such as LAGARD, Tecnosicurezza, dormakaba, Stuv and Wittkopp. The current EN 1300 certificate, installation instructions and operating instructions are available to download from the relevant lock page on our website.