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Standards and CE marking for Construction and Building Products in Europe

The Construction Products Regulation

The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) was adopted in 2011, replacing the Construction Products Directive (CPD). Under the CPD the CE marking of construction related products had been voluntary, something which had been a matter of disagreement between the UK and the European Commission for some twenty years. Since 1 July 2013 the CPR requires all manufacturers to apply CE marking to any of their products which are covered by a harmonised technical specification, which can be either a European Standard (hEN) or a European Technical Assessment (ETA) before they are placed on the EU market.
 
Where a harmonised technical specification exists, and a reference to it has been published in the Official Journal of the EU, then compliance with the requirements of the European Standard or the European Technical Approval is the only possible means of meeting the requirements of the CPR for CE marking of the product (see Article 1.11), and a Declaration of Performance must be drawn up for the product (Article 4). This is possibly the most significant change in the requirements for the marking and marketing of construction products in Europe for over two decades.
 
Article 8.6 goes on to stipulate that “The methods used by the Member States in their requirements for construction works, as well as other national rules in relation to the essential characteristics of construction products, shall be in accordance with harmonised standards.” In other words, harmonised standards and technical approvals are the only acceptable way for Member States to specify national requirements, and for manufacturers to demonstrate that products are suitable to be placed on the EU market.
 
Any product intended for sale within the EU must meet the relevant European Standard or Technical Approval. A full list of Standards already referenced in the Official Journal was published on 13th November 2015 as “Commission communication in the  framework  of  the  implementation  of  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 (Publication  of  titles  and  references  of  harmonised  standards  under  Union  harmonisation  legislation). It can be accessed at eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2015.378.01.0006.01.ENG.
 
The full text of the Construction Products Regulation can be found at eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32011R0305&from=EN
 
In particular recital 18 of the regulation states: The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) are recognised as the competent organisations for the adoption of harmonised standards in accordance with the general guidelines for cooperation between the Commission and those two organisations signed on 28 March 2003. Manufacturers should use those harmonised standards when the references to them have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union and in accordance with the criteria established under Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations and of rules on Information Society services (3). Once a sufficient level of technical and scientific expertise on all the relevant aspects is attained, recourse to harmonised standards with regard to construction products should be increased, including, where appropriate, and after consultation of the Standing Committee on Construction, by requiring, by means of mandates, that those standards be developed on the basis of existing European Assessment Documents.
 
Article 17 sets out the legal basis for the Commission to mandate standards.