Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
January 26, 2021

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Third party certification

A guide to LPS 1175: Ensuring physical security protection products are up to standard

In 1997, only a handful of products were certified to LPS 1175, the internationally recognised standard of physical security assured forced entry protection. Fast forward two decades, and over 750 are now certified. This is quite a feat when the team behind the standard estimate that 95% of products do not deliver the performance manufacturers expect them to when held up to the scrutiny of rigorous testing.

Here, we outline why LPS 1175 certification is so highly regarded in the global physical security sector, the testing processes involved and the theory behind the standard.

What is LPS 1175?

Loss Prevention Standard, or ‘LPS’, 1175 is one of the many standards published by BRE (Building Research Establishment) Global through the LPCB (Loss Prevention Certification Board), which has been associated with setting loss prevention standards for over 120 years and is a certification mark held by companies in over 40 countries.

This particular standard focuses on the physical security of a range of intruder resistant protection products developed by manufacturers and vendors in the physical security sector. Covering everything from security fences at the outer perimeter, through to doorsets, access covers and turnstiles, the systems are subjected to rigorous testing processes.

RichardFlint-BRE

Richard Flint, Technical Manager at the BRE

Fundamentally, LPS 1175 is a standard for protecting against forced entry (without fear of making noise), which determines the ability of products – everything from a door or roller shutter, through to cabinets, fencing and walling systems – to delay attackers’ attempts to gain unauthorised access. The intruder resistance of the product, including any in-situ hardware – locks or hinges, for instance – are covered during the testing.

As Richard Flint, Technical Manager at the BRE, explains: “The fundamentals of forced entry protection involve ‘detect’, ‘response’ and ‘delay’ stages. The ‘delay’ stage, which is what LPS 1175 is measuring, has to match the sum of the detect and response times at a facility, otherwise your protective barriers have failed and the attacker has an exploitable time gap to carry out their criminal activities.

“Each stage is crucial. A security operation must deploy effective delay (prevent entry), detect (spot the attack), and response (respond to the attack) measures. While there is a lot of focus on surveillance equipment and intruder alarms, ‘delay’ measures are often the forgotten and neglected side of the security triangle. And yet this is the side of the triangle representing the delay measures – your security doors, fence systems, walls, and the like – which buy you time while you detect and respond to an incident.”

How is testing for LPS 1175 carried out?

Testing is based on a set of criteria measuring the time it would take for an intruder to compromise the delay measure. The engineering team at BRE Global carry out the rigorous testing regime, delivering an independent and more lateral approach to testing than manufacturers or others in the supply chain are likely to carry out themselves – 95% of products tested to LPS 1175 fail, due to the high standards set. The technical rigor applied by BRE ensures customers know that the money they are spending on delay measures is well spent – a necessity for those protecting utilities and critical national infrastructure sites, in particular.

Richard adds: “We put an emphasis on the quality and thoroughness of our testing, and this often demonstrates a clear difference between products that may not appear much different on the surface with those that achieve a rating to LPS 1175. Everything from the design, quality of production, installation instructions for use and operation of products are considered during the evaluation process, so we really do ‘attack’ all bases, so to speak.”

The standard defines different threat levels based on the type of tools likely to be used by attackers, ranging from A (lighter, less invasive tools) through to H (high-powered equipment), as well as a numerical rating, indicating how long products are capable of delaying an intruder.

The image below provides an example of the different categories of tools, as well as a table explaining the latest scope of LPS 1175 Security Ratings products may be attributed – referred to as ‘SR’.

LPCB-LPS1175Issue8Table-21

The full infographic can be found on the BRE’s RedBook Live website, here.

Issue 8

The above table relates to the latest standard set by the LPCB: Issue 8. Published in mid-2019, Richard explains this issue was a major change to previous iterations, but one that will be beneficial for manufacturers and specifiers in the long-term.

“The standard supports the specification of more proportionate levels of protection, reflecting the threat in terms of the likelihood of a particular level (category) of tool being used to breach a particular site and the response times those operating on that site can expect. For example, jewellers concerned with smash-and-grab style attacks involving the use of a sledgehammer no longer need to specify Security Rating 4, which required products to resist category D tools such as the sledgehammer for at least 10 minutes. Instead, they can consider specifying one of the new ratings introduced in Issue 8 which recognise shorter delays more akin to the time those committing such robberies may be willing to spend, whether 1 minute (D1), 3 minutes (D3) or 5 minutes (D5).”

While addressing a broader spectrum of threat scenarios, Issue 8 also means that a layered approach can be used by security professionals to deliver extended delays against attacks. The total delay time can therefore be provided by the sum of delays from the various individual layers.

The attack testing zone at IFSEC International has been a highlight of the show in recent years, where the BRE team demonstrates its methods of testing on LPS 1175 certified products to attendees.

“At the LPCB Attack Testing Zone, technicians will rigorously put products that have achieved LPS 1175 to the test,” explains Gerry Dunphy, IFSEC International Event Director.

“It’s a truly dynamic, real time demonstration of the superb levels of engineering and design that have gone into these solutions. The demonstrations show the live audience the levels of attack products meeting the LPS 1175 standard must be capable of resisting – and more importantly illustrate why security professionals need to specify approved security options over inferior alternatives.”

Theory behind LPS testing and standards

The classifications take into account the risk and investment that intruders are prepared to go to in order to gain access to a facility – a key tool that can be used by specifiers to assess the potential threats a facility will need to mitigate.

A hostile actor’s intent is influenced by the following:

  • Return (value of goods stolen or level and extent of fear generated)
  • Investment (tools, time and effort required)
  • Risk (likelihood of being detected and apprehended due to their (in)ability to conceal tools during their approach, the level of noise they will generate, and whether they can afford to leave any evidence in the process)

A thief is likely to have very different perceptions of each of these points than a terrorist, for example. They will want to leave minimal evidence, enter quietly and get away cleanly to ensure they can ‘reap the rewards’ of their actions. A terrorist actor, on the other hand, may not be concerned with leaving evidence, but may want to produce the most amount of fear and disruption possible in the time they have.

Specifiers must therefore assess the likely investments in tools and planning, based on the return and risks available, to define the necessary Security Rated (SR) infrastructure for the given site. In all cases, the ‘delay’ stage of the triangle is vitally important.

Worldwide recognition of LPS 1175 standards

The work that the LPCB carries out to evaluate intruder protection products to LPS 1175 and other standards is now receiving global acclaim. Working in partnership with worldwide exhibitions such as IFSEC and programmes like Secured by Design – the official UK police physical security initiative – the standard’s recognition has grown exponentially.

“We’re now seeing specifications requesting products certified to LPS 1175 all over the world. Projects in the Middle East, Asia and America are recognising the value in the rigorous testing and audit process to ensure their perimeter protection delivers an appropriate delay. Manufacturers are proud to have independently certified products and specifiers have helped spread the word to clients and organisations to ensure facilities are well protected by their physical security solutions,” adds Richard.

LPS1175-AttackTestingLPCB-21Manufacturers with products that stand up to the mark highlight how important the standard is to their customer base. Stewart Plant, Director of Marketing at CLD Fencing Systems and FenceSafe Hire; part of the CLD Group of Companies, says: “When CLD Fencing Systems first began designing High Security Fencing over 10 years ago; we looked at how we could prove that these systems would defend and mitigate the risk of attack. LPS 1175 Issue 7 had been published around the same time and we knew it presented a ‘world-class’ standard in the testing and certification of security rated physical security against manual forced entry.

“Since that time, we have seen LPS 1175 grow to be the premiere security standard around the world. We now have 18 different fencing and gate systems that have been tested and certified to LPS 1175, including the new Issue 8. Due to the rigorous physical testing regime that any product that wishes to be certified needs to go through and the continuing monitoring of the quality of the manufactured systems after certification our customers, clients and end users know instantly that adopting this standard for their projects gives a guaranteed minimum delay against attack.

“Where a security project exists in the United Kingdom, and more so in recent years around the world, we can be assured that it will require physical security that is certified to LPS 1175 as a prerequisite. From manufacturer to security consultant, contractor to end client; all links in the complex supply and installation chain agree on one thing; if you want to defend against an attack, the only standard is LPS 1175.”

The latest Issue 8 updates have been welcomed by the industry, too. John Barty, representing HS Security on behalf of Technocover – R&D Manager, adds: “LPCB’s LPS:1175 Issue 8 has a more realistic scope of security ratings (SR2) B3, (SR3) C5, (SR4) D10 & (SR5) E10 to provide inclusive protection for a wide range of threat scenarios in defending the exploitable gaps in physical security. Issue 8 of LPS:1175 retains the same rigorous testing procedures as Issue 7, with the addition of a number of new tests to reflect the broader spectrum of threats.

“Today, with the unrivalled LPS:1175 Issue 8, Technocover’s ultra-secure products service support, longstanding experience and LPCB third-party accreditation works to the security edicts of Government, our expertise has made us a highly trusted partner and our LPCB certified products can be found in many important or sensitive application, helping to protect the important assets within all our industries, including the utilities sector.”

Indeed, LPS 1175 is referenced in the UK building regulations for the security of dwellings; has been recommended in the UN standards for arms control; referenced by UK Government regulations for the secure storage of high-value equipment; recognised by the US Department of State, and used across projects from the Olympic Stadium in east London, to museums and banks in the Middle East.

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