CE Marking for Construction Products

CE Marking for Construction Products

03rd May 2016

CE Marking for Construction Products

The CE mark is used to claim that a particular construction product can legally be placed on the market in any of the member states of the European Economic Area (EEA).  It’s based on the principal that the product specification (and therefore, the product itself) if deemed “fit for purpose”.   The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) sets out harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the European Union (EU) and provides a common technical language to assess the performance of construction products.  This ensures that reliable information is available to consumers, public authorities and professionals, enabling them to compare the performance of products from different manufacturers in different countries.

The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has superseded the Construction Products Directive (CPD) as the main legal instrument that affects the European construction industry.  Under the CPR there is a legal obligation for all manufacturers of construction products to provide proof that their products are “fit for purpose” by affixing the CE mark.  This shows that the products will enable the finished construction project (usually a building) to comply with the CPR requirements (also known as Basic Works Requirements) of:

·         Safety in case of fire

·         Mechanical resistance and stability

·         Safety and accessibility in use

·         Hygiene, health and the environment

·         Protection against noise

·         Energy economy and heat retention

·         Sustainable use of natural resources.

The EEA member states are all legally required to do everything necessary in order to ensure that all construction products placed on the market and put into service will enable the finished structure to comply with these Basic Works Requirements when the product is properly installed, maintained and used for its intended purpose.  The CE Mark is used to provide this proof.

The Construction Products Regulation differed from the Construction Product Directive because it does not require legislation in member states to implement the mandatory requirements.  This is designed to avoid different interpretations in different member states.  Under the Directive, the UK, Eire and Sweden had adopted an interpretation that application of the CE mark was voluntary.  However, the Regulation clarifies that the application of the CE mark is compulsory where a harmonised technical specification exists. 

The Regulation also adds detail to the issue of enforcement which had been relatively weak.  Member states are legally required to designate enforcing authorities which have the power to restrict or remove non-compliant products from the market.  Here in the UK, the enforcing authority is the Trading Standards Institute.  The Regulation also aims to reduce the financial burden of compliance on small manufacturers and allows micro enterprises to use simplified procedures to demonstrate compliance. 

To provide better access to the necessary information about the Regulation, each member state has to create a “product contact point” which provides independent free advice, particularly useful for small enterprises. 

The Regulation allows for two methods of compliance:

1.      Harmonised European Standards

2.      European Technical Assessments (ETA)

CE marking is only mandatory where a harmonised standard is available against which to declare the performance of a product.  Where there is no harmonised standard, the manufacturer may demonstrate compliance with a European Technical Assessment which is voluntary.