Vaults, Vault Doors and Safety Deposit Centres Explained

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Vaults, Vault Doors and Safe Deposit Centres – The Ultimate Guide

Looking for a vault for your home or business? Want to start a safety deposit business?

Don’t know where to start?

Building a vault is a big investment, and there’s a lot to think about. From planning and system selection, to implementing additional security systems – it pays to get the right support from a specialist team.

At Safe & Vault, we’re vault and strong room specialists – creating vaults and safe deposit centres for clients across the UK.

In this ultimate guide, our specialists explain everything you need to know. From how a vault is made and explaining the security ratings, to location and entry systems – it’s all the information you need to make the right buying decisions.

How are Vaults Made?

Modern vault wall systems are modular– they are made up from a number of panelled sections, which are either welded or bolted together to create the external wall of the vault. Once this structure is in place, they are then fitted with a specialist vault door.

This modular system is really versatile. Panels can be created in a range of different sizes, and vaults can be created to meet the needs of a full range of buildings and environments, in bespoke shapes and sizes to suit any space.

At Safe & Vault, we can provide standalone, new build and retrofitted and vault solutions to meet a full range of requirements. Stocking systems from the world’s leading brands, we will find the right solution to fit your requirements exactly.

Vault Security Ratings Explained

Just as with safes, all vaults, strong rooms and vault doors come with a security grade, in line with EN1143-1 resistance standards. This European legislation is an agreed set of test standards – and applies to all strong rooms, vaults and vault doors.

The grades run from 0 – 13 (XIII), with XIII being the highest possible security rating. For insurance purposes, the cash value of a XIII safe could be as much as £3.5m (or £35m in valuables) – but at this level, insurers will typically provide custom policies and quotes.

Deciding on the level of security you require depends on a number of different factors, such as:

  • What you’re storing inside
  • Insurance requirements
  • Location
  • Building construction

Increased security levels come with additional cost – and it’s important to strike the right balance between security and value. At Safe & Vault, we can provide you with advice on the best solution to meet the needs of your application.

Where is the Best Place for a Vault?

Thanks to the versatile, modular nature of vault construction, it’s possible to place a vault in a wide range of structures. It’s important to remember that vault systems are very heavy – so typically, they will need to be placed on a ground floor, where they are not restricted by access or weight constraints.

The safest place for a vault is typically underground, ground floor or in the basement of a building. This can reduce fire risk, whilst providing an additional level of security.

For companies looking to establish safety deposit businesses, the most cost-effective solution can be to utilise a building with an existing vault – such as an old bank. Retrofitting and refurbishing an existing vault can be significantly more cost-effective than building from scratch.

At Safe & Vault, our security specialists can provide tailored advice on vault location and planning.

Refurbished and Used Vaults

There is an existing second hand market for vaults and vault doors.

The modular nature of vault systems means that they can be removed and repurposed, with vaults being disassembled and rebuilt. Utilising second hand panels and doors can offer a significant saving over buying new – as long as there is an appropriate system available.

Ultimately, whether you choose to go new or approved used will depend on your requirements, space, budget and the availability of suitable second hand vault systems and doors to fit your project.

At Safe & Vault, we offer new vault systems from a full range of manufacturers, alongside approved second-hand systems, carefully sourced from across the UK.

Domestic Vaults vs. Luxury Safes

For high net worth individuals with significant valuables, or a wide range of items that require secure storage (e.g. gold, artworks, wines, jewellery or firearms), a home vault can offer a better solution than a large safe, in terms of both security and storage space.

Safe & Vault specialise in vaults, providing a complete design, supply and installation service available across the UK.

For those looking for a luxury safe, we offer a completely tailored, fully bespoke service – hand-crafting luxury safes onsite in Yorkshire to meet any requirement – find out more. We also offer a range of fire safes, with protection to suit a full range of needs – read our blog on choosing a fire safe for more info.

Choosing a Vault Door

The most important thing when choosing a vault door is to pick one with the right EN1143-1 grade. Any vault is only as secure as its weakest component, so this should match the rating of your strong room walls.

At the same time, there is little point in investing in a door that is significantly stronger than your vault walls.

Once you have decided on the grade of the vault door required, you will then need to think about the different kinds of entry system available. At Safe & Vault, we offer a full range of vault doors and vault door locking systems from a comprehensive range of the world’s leading brands, including Kaba and LaGard – and can provide tailored advice on the best option for any application.

Choosing a Safe Deposit Box

When creating a vault for a safety deposit centre – one of the biggest decisions you will need to make is which kind of safe deposit box to choose, and specifically, what size of box. They are available in a wide range of sizes.

Getting this right is important – choose boxes that are too large, and you are limiting the use of the space. Choose boxes that are too small, and you are limiting the items your customers can store.

The best advice is to fill half the vault with a mix of sizes to gauge your market – see which ones are most popular, and fill the other half of the vault with the most popular sizes. At Safe & Vault, our expert teams can provide personalised advice on the best sized boxes to suit your requirements.

Safe Deposit Entry Systems Explained

When designing any safe deposit centre, one of the biggest decisions you will need to make is on the safety deposit box entry systemThere are a number of different options available, from manual single key systems, to advanced automated safe deposit systems with the latest biometric systems:

  • Single lock
  • Shanghai locks / Two key system (where the box owner and the safe deposit centre each have a key)
  • Combined electronic and key system
  • Pin/password
  • Biometric entry
  • Fully automated – staff-less systems

Simple systems may be more cost effective in the short term whereas more advanced electronic and biometric systems offer enhanced security. One of the biggest advantages of an electronic system is that it creates an electronic audit trail – enabling enhanced record keeping, limiting human error and enhancing security.

Another advantage of electronic, keyless systems is that it minimises the human involvement – staff won’t have to accompany the box owner into the vault every time they want to access it. For larger businesses, this can provide a significant lifetime cost saving that offsets the initial investment.

At the highest end of the scale, we can even provide advanced, fully-automated systems that can operate without any input from human staff.

Advanced Entry – Vault Biometrics

As touched upon in previous sections, the most advanced safe deposit centres and vault entry systems utilise biometric systems for entry. Systems include:

  • Fingerprint readers
  • Palm scanners
  • Vein readers
  • Iris scanners

These offer significant advantages in terms of vault security – minimising the risk of theft to both safe deposit centre and the customer.


Vaults and Safe Deposit Boxes – Applications

Safe deposit boxes aren’t just for dedicated storage centres – at Safe & Vault, we offer vaults and safe deposit systems designed for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Hotel lobbies
  • Offices
  • Banks
  • Serviced apartments
  • Retail environments

From aesthetically pleasing freestanding units for customer-facing areas, to large banks of units for safety deposit centres – we can design, supply and install custom solutions to meet every budget and requirement.

Security Beyond the Vault

For safety deposit centres, the vault itself is only one aspect of the wider security matrix.

Even the most secure Grade XIII vault can be compromised if other aspects of the security system are neglected – what use is an impregnable door if your staff members hand over all the keys when threatened by a would-be thief!

To maximise protection, every safe deposit centre needs multiple layers of security that covers the entire operation. These might include:

  • Access control
  • Deposit control
  • CCTV & monitoring
  • Airlocks
  • Turnstiles
  • Bulletproof/protective glass
  • Physical security
  • Panic buttons

At Safe & Vault, we can provide a complete consultancy and project managed delivery service – analysing every aspect of your safe deposit security, and working with trusted partners to create a full system.

Vaults, Vault Doors and Safe Deposit Centres from Safe & Vault

Need a vault, strong room or safe for your safe deposit centre, business or home?

At Safe & Vault, we provide a complete, fully managed service, from initial audit, system design and product selection, through installation and maintenance. We can even offer honest, expert advice on security beyond the vault itself, providing project managed safety deposit centre builds.

Come to Safe & vault and you will benefit from our unrivalled experience, and extensive in-house team of designers, engineers, welders and security experts. You’ll also benefit from our close relationships with the world’s leading vault manufacturers, getting value for money on the best solution to meet your requirements and budget.

For additional information, or to discuss your requirements, please get in touch with our team today on 0113 274 4627 or email [email protected]