FAQ and European Market

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why should a fire or security product be CertAlarm certified?

Today, manufacturers who plan to sell their fire and security products in different European countries are frequently faced with uncertainty regarding the standards against which their products should be developed, tested and certified.

Take security products where there are no harmonized EU-wide certification procedures and standards. Instead, there are some EN-standards plus a variety of country-specific requirements, all of which are not mandatory.

In contrast, CertAlarm offers a unique European quality mark based on third-party, one-stop testing and certification to EN54 fire standards and EN5013X security standards. The CertAlarm scheme is a system 5 scheme according to ISO/IEC Guide 67, combining factory inspection, quality management review, product testing and ongoing surveillance in one package.

These requirements make CertAlarm the most rigorous EU-wide scheme in the market, ensuring the highest possible product quality and increased certainty for manufacturers, installers and end users.

  1. What is the scope of CertAlarm?

The CertAlarm scope gets updated constantly.

For fire products the current scope is as follows: All products covered by EN 54 series standards including systems (EN 54-13), smoke alarm devices (EN 14604), EN 12094-1, -3 and CEA 4021.

For security products the current scope covers EN 50131-x, EN 50134-x, EN 50133-2-1, EN 50136-x etc.

For more details please visit http://certalarm.org/ca/standard or Part 2 of the CertAlarm Rules (http://certalarm.org/ca/content/rules)

  1. How is CertAlarm being run?

CertAlarm is an AISBL, a non-profit association, located in Brussels. All interest groups (certification bodies and test laboratories, manufacturers, insurers, end users and authorities) can be represented as Board Members. The CertAlarm Management (anja.kinsky@certalarm.org) is the organ of CertAlarm AISBL established to manage the daily business and to ensure that all CertAlarm partners follow the rules of the CertAlarm scheme.

  1. Who issues the CertAlarm certificates?

CertAlarm is neither a Certification Body nor a Test Laboratory, but an organization providing a pan-European scheme based on which fire and security products are tested and certified to obtain the CertAlarm mark. In order to do so, CertAlarm is working with a number of contracted and recognized organizations, the CertAlarm partners. CertAlarm partners are either Contracted Certification Bodies (CCB) or Recognized Test Laboratories (RTL) or both. A list with all current partners, their scopes and contact information can be found here: http://certalarm.org/ca/partners.

After a product has been successfully tested by one of CertAlarm’s RTLs, the CertAlarm certificate is issued by a CertAlarm CCB and an alert is produced in the CertAlarm database. After a final check carried out by the CertAlarm Management, the certificate is listed as “issued” on CertAlarm’s website (http://certalarm.org/ca/cert_list_all).

  1. How can I be sure of a high quality level of the CertAlarm partners?

Before becoming a CertAlarm partner (a CCB and/or RTL), the potential partners must be accredited for the products they are assessing and are audited by an independent auditor. Once they have successfully passed the audit, a continuous surveillance of the laboratories is achieved based on annual round-robin tests which are managed and supervised by the CertAlarm Management. Furthermore, CertAlarm’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), which meets on a regular basis and consists of technical experts sent by the partners, provides technical guidance and makes sure that all partners are always up-to-date regarding the latest development and interpretation of standards and the corresponding test procedures.

  1. What do I need to do to get a CertAlarm certificate?

In order to select the best possible offer you should contact all or a selected number of CertAlarm partners (http://certalarm.org/ca/partners), provide them with a description of the certification project and ask for their offers. After having received the quote(s), you chose your preferred partner.

Before starting the certification process, you need to become a "registered CertAlarm manufacturer". Fill out the application form (http://www.certalarm.org/ca/content/how-register) and send it to the General Manager of CertAlarm, anja.kinsky@certalarm.org. After receipt of the registration fee (one-time payment of Euro 3.150), you will be registered in the CertAlarm database. The registration fee covers all administrative expenses in connection with the registration and future maintenance of your data and certificate(s).  As a next step you provide your CertAlarm partner with the project details and the project gets started. For more details please have a look at our Quick Reference Guide describing all necessary steps (link "/ca/sites/default/files/CertAlarm_Quick_Reference_Guide_1.pdf").

  1. Can my product bear both, the national quality mark and the CertAlarm mark?

Yes. CertAlarm is a pan-European Mark and aims at superseding country-specific certifications.

  1. My product needs one pan-European quality mark, are there other European marks in fire or security, endorsed by E-A?

No.

  1. What is the coverage of a CertAlarm certificate?

The CertAlarm scheme has been endorsed by the European co-operation for Accreditation (E-A) and is therefore valid throughout Europe. 

  1. Is a CertAlarm certificate recognized by insurers?

Yes. The CertAlarm scheme is based on EN standards. In many European countries, the law requires “the national quality mark OR the equivalent”. It is therefore possible for an insurer or for an end user to ask for:

- either the national quality mark
- or the CertAlarm mark
- or both of them.

  1. What is a System 5 certificate?

The System 5 as defined in ISO/IEC Guide 67 is the highest level of quality. System 5 combines product testing, factory inspection, quality management review and ongoing surveillance in one package.

  1. Does the CertAlarm scheme comply with the level System 5?

Yes. All CertAlarm certificates are issued according to System 5, ISO/IEC Guide 67.

  1. How long does it take to get a CertAlarm certificate for a new product, valid all over Europe ?

With only one test, one certificate and one mark manufacturers do not only save money, they also save time.

Take security products, for instance: At the moment, most security products are tested to a European standard for use in one particular country and nearly always require separate paperwork, and sometimes even separate tests to be marketed in other European country as well.

The concept of a single, independent testing scheme recognised throughout Europe such as CertAlarm improves efficiencies and increases the speed to introduce new products and technologies across Europe.

This is why many of the leading manufacturers in both industries have recently decided to use the CertAlarm mark on their products enabling them to enter Europe faster than ever, at lower costs and with an ensured and unbeaten quality level.

  1. What are the costs for a CertAlarm certificate for a new product?

With a variety of national marks, manufacturers are today forced to prove compliance by having their product re-tested and re-certified by local test and certification bodies – a highly expensive and time-consuming process that needs to be repeated in each country.

With CertAlarm, fire and security products need to be tested and certified only once. Manufacturers simply ask our partners, all of which are accredited Certification Bodies and Test Laboratories, for a quote. After having chosen the most convincing offer, the product gets tested and certified according to the CertAlarm scheme by the selected CertAlarm partner.

Once the product has successfully passed all tests, the selected CertAlarm partner issues the CertAlarm certificate, enabling the manufacturer to sell the product throughout Europe while having spent a fraction of what he normally would have paid to get the various national marks.

  1. Are there any other costs besides the testing and certification fees?  

Yes, there is a once-only registration fee to register in the CertAlarm database enabling the future certificates to be issued and published.  This fee is set at 3.213 € per headquarter (address mentioned on the certificate). In addition, there is a label fee for each CertAlarm certificate from which the administration of the scheme is funded. This fee is 108 € per certificate for the first year of certification and 429 € for subsequent years. The CertAlarm label fee has to be paid to the Contracted Certification Body, which transfers it to CertAlarm AISBL.

  1. How can I check the quality level of the CertAlarm scheme?

The CertAlarm scheme is described in detail in the CertAlarm Rules R-01, R-02, R-03 and R-04.

  1. A lot of (security) products are certified according to level 1 to 3, why should a manufacturer go for level 5?

In several European countries, level 5 is mandatory. Level 5 ensures the highest possible quality of fire and security products in Europe. System 5 combines product testing, factory inspection, quality management review and ongoing surveillance in one package.

By following this procedure, level 5 gives an added level of quality and integrity to the products approved. The CertAlarm scheme is a system 5 scheme according to ISO/IEC Guide 67 and thus the most rigorous EU-wide scheme in the market, ensuring increased certainty for manufacturers, installers and end users.

  1. What are the probable evolutions of CertAlarm within the next years?

CertAlarm will increase the number of partners (CCBs and RTLs) in order to be present in the main European countries.

CertAlarm also plans to be operational in the field of inspection bodies, with a high quality mark available for installers.
 

  1. Can I become member of CertAlarm AISBL?

If you are:

  • a manufacturer
  • an assessment body (certification body and/or test laboratory)
  • an end user
  • an insurer

you can apply to become a Member of the CertAlarm Association (link to application form).

Other

  1. What is the new Construction Products Regulation (CPR) about?

Please have a look at the Euralarm CPR Guideline (www.euralarm.org/news/2013/jun/3/euralarm-guides-through-cpr/)