What is a Grade 1, 2, 3, and 4 Intruder Alarm System?

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If you run a UK business and take security seriously, you must choose the right intruder alarm grade based on how much risk your property faces.

Getting the right grade is essential to keep your staff, property, stock, and valuables safe. Plus, your insurance policy will require it, so it's a must-do.

We understand that the different intruder alarm system gradings can be tricky to navigate. That’s why we’ve created this article - to ensure you pick the right intruder alarm system for your business premises and protect your company.

Without further ado..

What is EN50131?

EN50131 is a European standard that outlines the requirements for intruder and alarm systems used in security applications.

The standard covers the design, installation, and maintenance of the systems and defines the different grades of alarm systems based on their level of sophistication and ability to withstand attacks by intruders. 

The standard includes guidelines for both wired and wireless alarm systems, and compliance with EN50131 is often required by insurance companies and regulatory bodies. The standard aims to ensure that security systems are reliable, effective, and fit for purpose in protecting people and property from intruders.

What are the intruder alarm system grades?

There are four grades of intruder alarm systems specified by the EN50131 standard, ranging from Grade 1 to Grade 4.

The grades are based on the level of security and protection required for different types of properties, with Grade 1 being the least sophisticated and Grade 4 being the most advanced.

Here's a brief summary of each grade:

  • Grade 1: Suitable for low-risk properties such as small homes or apartments in low-risk areas.

  • Grade 2: Suitable for medium-risk properties such as small retail shops or small businesses.

  • Grade 3: Suitable for high-risk properties such as large retail stores, warehouses or factories.

  • Grade 4: Suitable for very high-risk properties such as banks, museums or government buildings.

Each grade specifies certain requirements for the system, such as the number and type of detectors, the power supply, and the level of resistance to tampering and interference.

It's important to keep in mind that an intruder alarm system is only as strong as its weakest link. This means that the security system's overall grade is determined by the lowest-grade component within it.

For instance, if a security system has ten components that are Grade 3, but one component is Grade 2, the entire system's grade will be reduced to Grade 2. This is because the lower-grade component can create vulnerabilities in the entire system, compromising the overall level of security.

It’s vital that you choose the appropriate grade of the intruder alarm system based on the risk level of your property.

Grade 1 intruder alarm systems - Low risk

Intruders are unlikely to target Grade 1 premises and as such, present as the lowest risk category. The most significant threat comes from opportunistic thieves who possess limited knowledge of the alarm system and have access to only basic tools that are readily available.

A Grade 1 intruder alarm should be adequate in stopping inexperienced intruders from entering a property. Covering major entry points such as front doors, a Grade 1 alarm may not protect other parts of a building. It assumes the thief doesn’t know how to disarm alarm systems.

Examples of Grade 1 properties:

  • Small independent retailers such as corner shops or small gift shops that only carry a limited amount of stock.

  • Small businesses that don't have expensive equipment or valuable inventory.

  • Small cafes with a limited amount of cash on the premises.

  • Small consulting firms or home-based offices with no valuable or sensitive information.

  • Small medical practices such as dental clinics or physiotherapy clinics don't store high-value medical equipment or drugs.

  • Small apartments or flats

  • Small offices with no valuable equipment or sensitive information

If your business falls into the Grade 1 category, contact us for a free business security audit.

Grade 2 intruder alarm systems - Low to medium risk

Grade 2 dictates a higher risk of theft due to valuable property kept on site.

Intruders are expected to have some knowledge of the alarm system and may use a wider range of tools and specialist equipment.

Protecting multiple entry points, a Grade 2 intruder alarm provides a more comprehensive solution than Grade 1, and is recommended by BIBA for higher-risk homes and lower-risk, small commercial properties.

To protect against intruders attempting to gain access through doors and windows, a Grade 2 wireless alarm system or hardwired alternative is required.

Examples of Grade 2 premises:

  • Small retail stores that stock higher-value items such as electronics, jewellery or designer clothing.

  • Small offices or businesses that have sensitive information or valuable equipment on the premises.

  • Small medical practices that store higher-value medical equipment or prescription drugs.

  • Small art galleries or museums that display valuable artworks.

  • Small warehouses that store goods of higher value.

If your business falls into the Grade 2 category, contact us for a free business security audit.

Grade 3 intruder alarm systems - Medium risk

Grade 3 intruder alarm systems are intended to counter more experienced intruders who have advanced knowledge, tools, and equipment, including portable electronic devices.

The system provides comprehensive protection for all possible entry points to a building. High-risk homes and many commercial properties, such as department stores tend to fall into this category.

Intruders who pose a risk to Grade 3 properties are expected to be familiar with the intruder alarm system and have access to a wide range of tools and portable electronic equipment. Grade 3 is currently only given to wired security solutions, so any wireless systems will fall into Grade 1 or 2.

As high-value contents are kept on site, there is a significant threat from these experienced intruders.

Examples of Grade 3 businesses:

  • High-value retail stores such as jewellers, designer boutiques, or luxury car dealerships.

  • High-value offices that deal with sensitive information or high-value equipment - such as investment firms or research and development facilities.

  • Large department stores or shopping centres with multiple entry points.

  • High-value warehouses or storage facilities with valuable or sensitive inventory.

  • Museums, art galleries, or historical buildings with high-value and irreplaceable artefacts or exhibits.

If your business falls into the Grade 3 category, contact us for a free business security audit.

Grade 4 intruder alarm systems - High risk

Grade 4 intruder alarms are the most sophisticated and advanced security systems available.

These alarms are designed to protect commercial properties that are at an extremely high risk of theft or damage due to their valuable contents. These types of properties may attract professional thieves who are highly organised and may work in teams.

These criminals may possess the necessary expertise and equipment to evade detection, and they may explore all possible means to gain access to the property - including entry through the ceiling or floor.

Grade 4 alarm systems are used when security is of utmost importance and takes precedence over all other factors.

Examples of Grade 4 properties:

  • High-security government facilities such as intelligence agencies or military bases.

  • High-security data centres or server rooms that store sensitive information.

  • National banks or other financial institutions that hold large sums of money or valuable assets.

  • Museums or galleries that house rare or priceless collections of art, historical artefacts, or other valuables.

  • High-security research and development facilities that handle sensitive or classified information or valuable intellectual property.

If your business falls into the Grade 4 category, contact us for a free business security audit.

What type of intruder alarm grading does my business premises need?

Your first step is to get a free BTT Comms business security audit.

Security is a serious matter, and it is always best to seek professional advice and recommendations. Taking guesses and employing unqualified installers is not only irresponsible but also dangerous.

Our experienced security professionals will give you the best advice and recommendations for your security system needs. We will review your property and design tailored recommendations for products, system design, installation, and maintenance that suit your budget.

Our recommendations for the type of security system and design depend on the results of the site visit and risk assessment. We take into account various factors, such as potential risks, the value of contents, property layout, and other essential metrics, to create a customised solution for you.

For high-security properties, we offer fully monitored systems that can be linked to a central monitoring station. If an alarm is activated, the local police or a designated key holder will be immediately notified.

Our intruder alarm systems can also be integrated with panic attack buttons, CCTV systems, access control, and smoke screen products.

To learn more about our approach to intruder alarm systems, get in touch with our friendly and experienced team today.

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