Originally the Construction Products Directive CPD 89/106/EEC the main goal was to improve the framework conditions for the competitiveness of the construction and construction products industries. The directive required that construction products are suitable for use in construction works. Therefore, the essential requirements regarding safety, public health, protection of citizens, and the environment must be fulfilled.
CPD 89/106/EEC (Construction Products Directive) was published on December 21, 1988 by the European Council on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States. It was then amended by the Council Directive 93/68/EEC on July 22, 1993 and Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003 on September 29, 2003. The directive harmonized all construction products subject to regulatory controls for CE marking purposes.
The aim was to remove technical barriers to trade in construction products between Member States in the European Union.
The directive is now replaced by Regulation (EU) No 305/2011. The directive was replaced in order to simplify and clarify the existing framework, and improve the transparency and the effectiveness of the existing measures.
It sought to “ensure the free movement of all construction products within the European Union by harmonizing national laws with respect to the essential requirements applicable to these products in terms of health and safety. An additional objective of the directive was to “standardize the manufacturing of construction products and guarantee the unlimited use of these products within the EU.
The CPD provided the following four main elements:
- A system of harmonised technical specifications
- An agreed system of attestation of conformity for each product family
- A framework of notified bodies
- The CE marking of products
The Directive did not aim to harmonise regulations. Member States and public and private sector procurers were free to set their own requirements on the performance of works and therefore products. What the CPD sought to harmonise was the methods of test, the methods of declaration of product performance values, and the method of conformity assessment. Choice of value for intended use was left to the regulators in each Member State.
The Construction Product Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC (so called Construction Products Regulation – CPR) introduces a concept of the CE-mark indicating only “conformity with the declared performance” and no longer “conformity with the harmonised technical specification”, as it is used to be under 89/106/EEC Directive (CPD). As the European Regulation it is also directly applicable in all Member States (MS) with no possibility of interpretation. This approach has, amongst others, the following two consequences: – The significance of the European technical specifications has been changed, as now they provide only common performance assessment tools and procedures, and not constitute a definition of a given product. Under CPR regime, the product is defined by the manufacturer in the Declaration of Performance with reference to the intended use(s), and harmonised technical specifications do not deal with application or use instructions any more. – The national provisions of the Member States become more important, as they define requirements that influence the levels of performance of the essential product characteristics that shall be declared by the manufacturers.
This legal act is a regulation thus applying directly in the Member States – no national implementing measures are required.
The regulations do not cover the construction work itself and as a result individual member states are free to set their own requirements. This may have an impact on the performance levels of the products used.
The regulations focus on the safety and performance of completed constructions there are 7 “Basic Works Requirements”:
• Mechanical resistance and stability.
• Safety in case of fire.
• Hygiene health and environment.
• Safety and accessibility in use.
• Protection against noise.
• Energy economy including heat retention.
• Sustainable use of natural resources.
Construction Products Regulation
Reason for Change
• Clarify and Simplify the Construction Product Directive.
• Improve the transparency and effectiveness.
• Increase the credibility of the directive.
• Reduce the financial burden on manufacturers.
• Clarify the CE marking obligation and resulting consequences of non-compliance.
• Improve enforcement of the regulation.
The Regulation imposes legal obligations on importers and distributors to participate in ensuring the compliance of the construction products they trade in. Importers and distributors need to adopt a ‘chain of custody’ approach to ensure the relevant supporting documents are able to be transferred from the manufacturer to the end user. Furthermore, where a distributor places a product on the market under their own label, they will be treated in many respects as the manufacturer.
The regulation states that some products may be exempt these are:
• Custom made products for a specific order, if installed by the manufacturer.
• Products manufactured on site.
• Products for use in traditional, heritage conservation projects.
The Regulation also clarifies the area of enforcement. All member states must designate ‘enforcing authorities’ which are empowered to restrict or remove non-compliant products from the market. In the UK, Trading Standards are the enforcing authority.
The regulation intends to reduce the financial burden of compliance for small manufacturers. As such, micro-enterprises are allowed to use specific simplified procedures to demonstrate their compliance, so long as they can be demonstrated to be equivalent.
In order to provide better access to information about the Regulation, each member state has to create a ‘product contact point’ providing independent free advice, particularly to small enterprises.
Compliance with the Regulation
The Regulation requires that products which are to be incorporated into constructions are adequately specified to ensure the satisfactory performance of the structure itself. In practice, this means that a series of product specifications have to be produced so that manufacturers have proper targets to determine their products’ performance.
The Regulation permits two methods of compliance:
• Harmonized European Standards.
• European Technical Assessments (ETA)
Note CE marking is only mandatory, where a harmonized standard is available against which to declare the performance of the product. Where there is no harmonized standard, the manufacturer may choose to demonstrate compliance via a relevant European Technical Assessment.
The Regulation itself does not define the required verification procedure for any particular product or group of products. Instead, a large number of Commission Decisions have followed which essentially determine whether the manufacturer can self-certify their products or the involvement of an independent body (a “notified body”) is required. There are 5 levels of verification which define whether the manufacturer or notified body are responsible for various tasks.
The objective is to create harmonized standards for every construction product ‘permanently incorporated in the works’. So far, over 400 have been fully harmonized and their reference has been published in the Official Journal of the European Community (“the OJ”), many more are in progress or planned. A list of the Harmonized Standards can be found on the European Commission’s New Approach website.
The information relevant to CE marking and declaration is always found in Annex ZA of each harmonized standard.
For specific information on Structural Steelwork please click here EN 1090 Structural steelwork
European Technical Assessments
The Regulation continues to allow the development of ETAs, which are specifications pertaining to a particular manufacturer and product type, particularly useful for innovative products or kits. The relevant issuing bodies are known as Technical Assessment Bodies (TABs). In order to draft a European Technical Assessment, first a European Assessment Document must be created, in response to a request by a manufacturer. This effectively sets out a consistent method of assessment agreed by all member states.
This route, although voluntary, has proved very popular, with over 3000 ETAs issued to date. Currently a list of issued ETAs can be found on the European Organization of Technical Approvals (EOTA) website. Under the Regulation a new body for the co-ordination of Technical Assessment Bodies will be formed.
Factory Production Control Requirements
In addition to declaring technical performance against the basic works requirements and in order to comply with the Regulation, products must meet certain factory production control requirements. The manufacturer must be able to demonstrate that their production methods will result in consistent product that continues to match the declared performance.
Declaration and marking
The manufacturer’s ‘declaration of performance’ must contain actual performance data in relation to the essential characteristics. This is the most important legal document in relation to the product. This must be ‘made available’ to the end user and the Regulation allows for this to be by electronic means, for example by posting on a website. Additionally, some information must be marked on the product and/or its packaging.
There are a number of useful resources on the CPR on the internet. In particular:
The European Commission’s EUROPA web site has a great deal of information in its Construction industry section.
The UK product contact point provides information on the CPR as required by the Regulation.
As with all CE marking directives, the actual requirements for any product under the directives are complex and dependent on not only the product but also, the intended function within the construction. Product Declarations must support any claims made, or implied by commercial literature.
Services that we offer as a Notified Body
• Product Compliance Gap analysis
CEM as experts in the arena of CE marking are best placed to be able to analyse product and determine in what areas it may need to be improved in order to meet the directives.
• Factory Production Control Assessment
CEM are able to conduct factory production control assessments to determine that the measures in place are sufficient to ensure that all production complies with the standards applicable.
• Testing Service
If required, CEM will arrange for equipment to be tested to ensure that it conforms to the requirements of the construction product regulations.
For further information specific to your products, please contact us at CEM and we will be pleased to discuss your needs.
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CEM International are a Notified Body for the Construction Products Regulation and can provide assistance with certification.