CE Marking – Cutting through the Jargon (Part Two)

CE Marking – Cutting through the Jargon (Part Two)

18th June 2015

Following on from our recent post on CE Marking – Cutting through the Jargon, here’s the second part with more useful information designed to help you navigate the sometimes complicated process of CE Marking.

The European Technical Specification includes a system of Assessment of Verification of Constancy of Performance (AVCP) for every product.  The systems vary from System 4 (a Manufacturer’s Declaration) through to the most rigorous system, System 1 (third party certification), depending on the type of product being CE marked.

For instance, most fire resisting products (such as fire doors) are System 1 (which is the most stringent) whereas most products with a reaction to fire performance are System 3 (the least stringent) unless a flame retardant is added or there is some other process used to improve fire performance, in which case the product then becomes System 1. 

For a System 3 product, the manufacturer needs to organise the relevant tests with an independent laboratory, document the factory production control system and then make a declaration of performance so that the product can be CE marked.

However, for a System 1 products, the manufacturer must include a third party organisation (a certification body or a technical approval body) in the process.  The involvement of a third party to ensure the quality of the product is a crucial difference and is necessary because the products covered by System 1 are deemed to be critical products for life safety.  The third party organisation selects the test specimens and organises the relevant tests with an independent laboratory.  If the test results are successful and the product manufacturer has an acceptable factory production control system, the third party organisation issues a certificate of conformity with the European Technical Specification for the product and the manufacturer can them make a declaration of performance and CE mark the product accordingly. 

If a particular product is covered by a published European Product Standard (hEN), then CE Marking is mandatory.  If a product is covered by a published European Assessment Document then CE Marking is possibly, but remains voluntary.  Many of us in the construction industry are labouring under the misconception that CE Marking is mandatory for all construction products, but this is not necessarily the case.  The product itself determines whether CE Marking is mandatory or not and this has caused a certain amount of confusion. 

In order to eliminate confusion the European construction industry has been collaborating with the European Commission in a bid to explore the possibility of making CE Marking mandatory for all products by converting the European Assessment Documents (EADs) into product standards (hENs).  This would require a mandate from the European Commission to CEN to draft appropriate standards to cover products. 

The team at Safety Fabrications will be closely watching any development on CE Marking and we’ll bring you all the latest news and information so that you can keep up to speed with what’s going on within our industry.