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It’s time New Zealand caught up: Why we need standards for electronic security

New Zealand Security Magazine, June-July 2018

Doug McCormick, Technical Project Manager at Gallagher SecurityDoug McCormick, Technical Project Manager at Gallagher SecurityDoug McCormick, Technical Project Manager at Gallagher Security, argues the case for New Zealand standards for access control, suggesting the formation of an electronic security standards committee of interested experts.


Did you know that there are currently no recognised standards for access control in New Zealand or Australia? But there is a dated series of standards for intruder alarms. It’s time we caught up with the world and set some relevant standards for our markets.


Why standards?

Established standards are invaluable for manufacturers and suppliers as they set benchmarks for export and confirm to customers that their products are designed to and incorporate features to a recognised level. Standards relating to safety are made mandatory by the government.  

Although most standards not directly mandated, they will often each call upon a mandated standard, rather than go through a mandating process. Established standards are also invaluable to customers. 

A product bearing a standards mark, confirms that it meets specific requirements.  This provides a minimum reliable standard for the product.


How do standards come about?

One option is for a national (e.g. New Zealand) group of “experts” to meet and write a standard.  After circulating to a wider audience for review and once agreed by the national standards council, the standard is assigned a reference number and becomes part of a national library of standards.  

However, this option is not necessarily the best way to go from a global perspective.  Manufacturers designing to a New Zealand specific standard might have trouble having the standard recognised in global markets.  A clear impediment to sales! Requesting a global supplier to meet a New Zealand specific standard may put them off offering product having to meet a single country standard due to the associated testing and declaration of conformity.

The smartest option is to adopt an existing international standard and in simple terms, call it our own. Because the standard will have had an international birth, it will be recognised worldwide.

When standards are adopted in this way, there may be minor changes that do not alter the content substantially but address areas such as mandatory requirements and environmental (temperature, humidity, etc) ranges.


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Access control

IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) have published two standards for access control.  These are IEC 60839-11-1 Manufacturer’s Requirements and IEC 60839-11-2 Installation Requirements.

These standards were written by a working group consisting of experts from Canada, UK, Germany, France, Sweden and New Zealand. They have been adopted throughout the EU as EN 60839-11-1 and -2; and in Canada as CUL 60839-11-1 and -2.

I believe the time is right to adopt these standards as AS/NZS 60839-11-1 and -2.


Intruder Alarms

The current intruder alarm series for Australia and New Zealand are:

Only two of these standards are relevant to New Zealand (the reasons for the remaining standards not being historically adopted by New Zealand is unclear).  

AS2201.2-2004 is currently being reviewed. Should New Zealand be part of the review to work towards the standard being adopted as an AS/NZS standard?

2201-1, -3 and -4 are also reaching an age of requiring review. Again, should New Zealand be part of the review team?


Other IEC access controls standards

The IEC access control working group is also working on two other areas of interest. This is work in progress, so not yet in fully published form:'ONVIF (Open Network Video Interface Forum) is expanding its video specifications to also cover access control, and IEC are proposing to adopt the ONVIF specifications as IEC standards.  Some parts have already been adopted. 

IEC are also proposing to adopt the current OSDP specification as an IEC standard. This proposed standard is likely to be circulated internationally for voting later this year.


The way forward

I suggest that we need to form an electronic security standards committee of interested experts, under the auspices of New Zealand Standards, to manage electronic security standards. This committee would contribute to the Australian equivalent committee deliberations, or even work on New Zealand-only standards. 

We need representation from all interested experts, users, consultants, manufacturers, importers, exporters. Whilst their expertise will generally be based on their individual work and requirements knowledge, it is important to stand as independent people representing the best interests of New Zealand as a whole.

Alongside the New Zealand involvement, there is also opportunity to become a working group member on an IEC standards committee.

If you are interested in, or know a person who is interested in being part of a review committee, please feel free to contact me at or by telephone at 021 220 9607.


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