Construction Products Regulation

On 1 July 2013, the European Construction Products Regulation 305/2011/EU came into effect. This regulation replaces the old construction products directive 89/106/EEC from 1989.
Construction products are subject to the rules concerning the free movement of goods in the European Union (EU) and the rules relating to the safety of buildings, health, durability, energy economy and the protection of the environment. The new EU regulation is designed to simplify and clarify the existing framework for placing construction products on the market. Moreover, it is to ensure reliable information on construction products in relation to their performances. This is achieved by providing a “common technical language”, offering uniform assessment methods of the performance of construction products. This common technical language is to be applied by:

  • The manufacturers when declaring the performance of their products, but also by
  • The authorities of member states when specifying requirements for them, and by
  • Their users (architects, engineers, constructors, etc) when choosing the products most suitable for their intended use in construction work.

Scope of the Construction Products Regulation

The scope of the CPR and associated CE marking is limited to product characteristics for which there are national provisions relating to the product’s use in at least one of the following categories:

  1. Mechanical resistance and stability
  2. Safety in case of fire
  3. Hygiene, health and the environment
  4. Safety and accessibility in use
  5. Protection against noise
  6. Energy economy and heat retention
  7. Sustainable use of natural resources

 
National provisions relating to these issues vary between EU member states, which means that, although a product may be CE marked, it may not be suitable for particular applications or for use within some member states.

Changes to the Construction Products Regulation

The Construction Products Regulation 305/2011/EU builds on the Construction Products Directive 89/106/EEC and aims to break down technical barriers to the trade in construction products within the European Economic Area (EEA). To achieve this, the CPR provides for four main elements:

  • A system of harmonised technical specifications
  • An agreed system of conformity assessment for each product family
  • A framework of notified bodies
  • CE marking of products

The Construction Products Regulation harmonizes the methods of assessment and testing, the means of declaring the product performance and the system of conformity assessment for construction products. However, it does not harmonize national building regulations. The choice of required values for the particular intended use is left to the regulators and public/private sector procurers at a national level. Nonetheless, such required values must be expressed in a consistent manner (technical language), in line with the harmonized technical specifications.

The most important change in the new Construction Product Regulations is that it will become mandatory for manufacturers to apply CE marking to any of their products which are covered by a harmonized European standard (hEN) or European Technical Assessment (ETA). This is a major change, as affixing of CE marking under the provisions of the Construction Products Directive (CPD) was voluntary.

Besides the CE marking itself, the new CPR also seeks to clarify the affixing of the CE marking. CE marking is affixed to construction products for which the manufacturer has drawn up a declaration of performance (DoP). By affixing the CE marking to a construction product, manufacturers indicate that they take responsibility for the conformity of that product with its declared performance. The DoP is the key concept in the Construction Products Regulation and serves to deliver the information about the essential characteristics of the product that a manufacturer wants to make available on the market. This declaration of performance needs to be kept in the technical file of the product for a minimum of 10 years. ProductIP can take care of this. Moreover, the purpose is to introduce simplified procedures which can reduce the costs for businesses, especially SMEs, and which impose stricter designation for organizations responsible for assessing the performance of construction products and the verification of the product’s constancy.