Why do we have EN50131?

The British Standards (BS4737, BS7042 and BS6799) which used to govern the specification, installation and maintenance of Intruder and Hold-up Alarm systems have been phased out and were eventually withdrawn in October 2005 in favour of a preferred European wide standard, known as EN50131. EN50131 is very different to the previous British Standards, we will cover this later. The British Standard had not been changed for 20 years despite massive advances in technology and installation within the Intruder Alarm industry.  Couple this with the Police clampdown on their response to false alarms and their stricter criteria for the issue of a URN (Unique Reference Number) that allows for police response, there was a realisation things needed to change.  The change to EN50131 also meant standards could be harmonised across the European Union encouraging free trade, improved the quality and integrity of the security industry and help to ensure that security specified would be more appropriate to the risk the premises faced.  You may also hear it referred to as EN50131: PD6662, this is due to the fact that some UK accepted practices that did not comply with European norms were needed to be kept.  Therefore to make it possible for the UK to adopt EN50131, a published document (PD) 6662:2004 and it's supplementary document, which was already in use, DD:243 were provided.  While not a British Standard, it is an enabling document allowing the UK to adopt EN50131 while keeping some UK practices in use. 

So what does EN50131 do?

It differs greatly to BS4737 in many key areas, the key elements, you as the customer need to be aware of are detailed below with further detailed analysis of some of the major difference addressed later.

  • It now determines not only the system design requirements but now also the component design element of Intruder Alarm systems, such as PIR detectors, door contacts, control panels etc.
  • Your premises and or business must undergo a comprehensive risk assessment to determine how your system is designed as part of the sales process.
  • It applies to both hard wired and wire free systems.
  • Systems are now Graded to reflect the risk to the business/premises as identified in the aforementioned risk assessment.
  • Whereas before, any compliant Intruder Alarm system was defined as a "BS4737 Intruder Alarm System"  it will now have to be defined as an
    EN50131 System Grade 1, 2, 3 or 4, installed to conform with PD6662:2004, with notification options (Sounders and Alarm signalling devices)
  • System components are now graded as well as being given environmental classifications to identify where the component can be sited, indoors, outdoors, etc.
  • All new or extensively modified systems must now comply, along with DD:243 (click here) to attain Police Response.
  • Your insurer may penalise you if your security system fails to comply with the new standards.  Insurers have played a pro-active role in the writing of the relevant documents and practices to help reduce their business risk as well as yours.

Key Areas

Risk Assessment

A comprehensive risk assessment must be carried out by an approved security system installer and then stored securely for future reference. This is needed to demonstrate that the system was designed in accordance with the level of risk determined, as specified under the new EN standards. For this purpose Abbion Fire and Security Systems can arrange to conduct a “Security Audit”.


By undertaking a risk assessment/security audit, your system will be graded by risk not only to allow for what may be stolen, the residual effect a burglary can have on your business or the location/construction of the building. It will also reflect the likely knowledge/ability of potential intruders to bypass the technology installed. (Grade 1 = Low Risk / Grade 4 = Highest Risk)

  • Grade 1 - Low Risk
  • Grade 2 - Low to Medium to Risk
  • Grade 3 - Medium to High Risk
  • Grade 4 - High Risk

You should contact your insurer to check if they have applied a minimum EN system grade for your security system in order to provide adequate cover.

Component Grading

Under the new EN standards, all new security components, such as detectors and door contacts, as well as control panels, are graded by performance. The performance grade of a component must be equivalent to, or greater than the grade of the security system in which it is installed.


Does my alarm system comply? If your system was installed after October 2005, then your system has to be compliant with the new standard.  You should have undergone a security audit/risk assessment and your specification for the alarm system should be to EN50131.  If you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to contact Abbion Fire and Security Systems.

Do I need to upgrade my existing alarm system?  If your alarm system was installed before October 2005 and is working correctly then no you do not.  However, if the alarm is in need of serious remedial work, you may do. This may also apply if you have lost police response or your insurer requests it. If you have any doubts, please do not hesitate to contact Abbion Fire and Security Systems and we can arrange a site survey to discuss your requirements and a security audit if neccessary.

I've lost police response, what do I do next? Speak to us.  We can arrange to visit you at your premises and discuss your options.  This may mean a security audit or risk assessment being done and a free quotation to rectify the situation.

Can I get a risk assessment done? Yes. Contact us with your requirements.


You may find these sites useful for additional information:

  • NSI - National Security Inspectorate
  • Consumer Direct
  • CrimeStoppers
  • Neighbourhood Watch
  • British Security Industry Association
  • Association of Security Consultants
  • Association of Chief Police Officers
  • Security Industry Authority