Your 'Need to Know' for Intruder Alarm Installations
When technology is responsible for keeping your business property secure, it needs to be as reliable as possible. An intruder alarm system is the most common security measurement in protecting businesses from the threat of break ins and theft. Even more so when the intruder alarm system is monitored 24/7 and you have a Police Response service to any confirmed alarm activations.
However, ensuring your intruder alarm system is fit for purpose starts at the system design stage. Intruder alarm systems and components must comply with the relevant standards for design, installation and maintenance, and a whole system must be graded to ensure it’s the right system to cover the level of risk to the property.
Intruder Alarm Standards
The European Standard for intruder alarm specification, installation and maintenance is EN 50131:2006. This standard was phased in to replace British Standards BS4737, BS7042 and BS6799. It was fully adopted in October 2005, using PD 6662:2004 to enable some UK practices to remain that weren’t covered by the European Standard.
PD6662 differs from the previous British Standards as follows:
It determines not only the system design requirements but also the component design elements for intruder alarm systems, such as PIR detectors, door contacts, control panels
A comprehensive security risk assessment must be completed to determine the design criteria of the system
The standard is applicable to both hard-wired and wireless intruder alarm installations
The system must be graded to reflect the risk level – from grade 1 = low risk to grade 4 = very high risk
As well as grading system components, they are now given an environmental classification to identify where they may be sited – e.g. indoors, outdoors.
Intruder Alarm Grades
Grade 1 is for intruder alarm installations with a low risk of theft. The property and the business use is not likely to attract intruders. Any break ins to the property are assumed to be opportunistic rather than being planned in advance.
This grade would usually apply to low risk domestic properties where there is no insurance requirement for an intruder alarm system.
Grade 2 is for businesses with a slightly higher risk of theft. The property is likely to have something of interest to an experienced thief. The type of criminal who would target these properties is expected to have some knowledge on how to disable simple intruder alarm systems. They would be expected to target entry points such as doors, windows and other openings for easy access.
Grade 2 would usually apply to most domestic properties and commercial premises of low risk – e.g. florists, hair salons.
Grade 3 is for businesses with a reasonably substantial level of risk. Because of the likely high value contents of the building or site, it’s expected to be targeted for a break in. Whilst the intruder would be expected to gain access through doors, windows or other openings, it’s assumed that they may be experienced enough to overcome more complex intruder alarm systems.
Grade 3 would apply to high risk domestic properties and most commercial premises – e.g. scrap yards processing valuable metals, retail premises selling alcohol and tobacco.
Grade 4 grading is for very high-risk business properties. It’s expected that break ins would be meticulously planned in advance and that intruders would have the knowledge, skills and equipment to alter parts of the intruder alarm system to prevent detection. They would be expected to gain access through more sophisticated methods by penetrating walls, floors and ceilings rather than using easy entry options such as doors and windows.
Grade 4 would apply to higher risk commercial properties such as banks and jewellery retailers.
Components with Different Grades
EN 50131 allows components of an intruder alarm system to be different to the grade to the system. For example, if an installation was a grade 2, then you could use components that meet grade 2 or higher. However, it wouldn’t be possible to use components of a lower grade.
The most important part of grading an intruder alarm system is the initial risk assessment. This is a legal requirement to comply with EN50131. It will determine the grade of the system, as well as defining the extent of the system, its signalling and tamper security requirements.
Once completed, the risk assessment must be stored securely for future reference.
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