The Construction Products Regulation (CPR 305/2011/EU), published by the European Parliament on 9 March 2011, repeals the Construction Products Directive (CPD 89/106/EEC) and enacts stricter rules on the construction industry.
The main goal of the regulation is to further unify member states and create an environment of free trade without hindrance of national laws. Specifically, the new regulation aims to improve three areas.
- Clarification of the basic concepts and of the use of CE marking;
- Simplification of the procedures, so as to reduce the costs incurred by enterprises, in particular small and medium sized enterprises; and
- Increased credibility for the whole system.
The new requirements of the new regulation went into effect 20 days after publication (March 2011); however, articles 3 to 28, 36 to 38, 56 to 63, 65, 66, and annexes I, II, III, and V are not yet in force. The regulation will completely replace the construction products directive (CPD 89/106/EEC) on 1 July 2013. In the meantime, manufacturers must draft the appropriate documents and ensure compliance.
As stated in the regulation in Article 2 of CPR 305/2011/EU, a construction product is defined as any product that is to be permanently placed into a construction work (building construction or civil engineering) which has an effect on the performance of the construction work. The product can be in the form of a single product or a kit of products meant to be used in unison. There are 35 areas of classification for a construction work. All products are to be classified into one of the classifications and tested based on the requirements of each classification. The product must comply with the essential characteristics of a construction product.
Basic Requirements of a Construction Work As specified in Annex I of the regulation, there are seven basic requirements for construction works:
- Mechanical Resistance and Stability: Construction works must be constructed in a way to maintain stability. The works must not pose a risk of collapsing or causing major deformations that would compromise other parts of the work.
- Safety in Case of Fire: The construction work must be able to sustain itself for a reasonable amount of time in case of fire, be able to contain the fire as much as possible, and to limit spread of a fire from other works. Occupants must be able to leave the construction works or be safely rescued.
- Hygiene, Health, and the Environment: Construction works must not pose a risk in the following ways: the release of toxic gases; emissions of dangerous substances into air or water; the release of radiation.
- Safety and Accessibility in Use: Construction works must not pose an unreasonable risk to such incidents including slipping, falling, collisions, burns, electrocution, explosions, and burglaries. Construction works must be accessible to people with physical disabilities.
- Protection against Noise: Construction works must be built in a way that limits noise for occupants. Noise levels must maintain a level that is not harmful to the health or safety of occupants. Occupants must be able to sleep, rest, and work in satisfactory conditions.
- Energy Economy and Heat Retention: Construction works shall be built in a way that minimizes heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation, while maintaining comfort and safety of occupants. Construction works shall be designed and built to enable energy-efficiency.
- Sustainable use of natural resources: Construction works must be made with natural resource conservation in mind. Products should be able to be reused or recycled after the demolition of a construction work. The works must be durable and use environmentally friendly raw and secondary materials.
For products which are low-risk or custom-made, a simplified procedure has been developed. The new procedure assumes that testing has already been completed, and as such, testing does not need to be redone. “Specific Technical Documentation” (STD), or the test results from similar products, is to be submitted with a manufacturer’s justification for the use of the STD.
For most construction products, harmonized standards will exist and conformity will be based on conformity to these standards. The standards shall all have specific directions instructing manufacturers on which tests shall be performed by the manufacturer itself and which tasks must be completed by a notified body. In some cases, notified body intervention is mandatory, whereas in other cases, it is not necessary and the manufacturer can complete product testing itself.
Technical assessment bodies (TABS) are required for products which do not already fall into pre-existing standards or only partially fall into the scope of a standard. The manufacturer must appoint a TAB, provide information regarding the product. Then the TAB shall draft an assessment document (EAD), have the EAD submitted to the EU authorities. The product must then be assessed for performance of according to the conditions in the EAD.
Declaration of Performance
Manufacturers must draft an official document proving conformance with the following standards. This declaration shall put all responsibility for conformity on the manufacturer. The declaration of performance will include detailed information about the product including information about the manufacturer and a European Authorized Representative European Authorized Representative. Information regarding the method of compliance testing will be mandatory beginning July 2013. CE marking shall not be applied to a product until after all testing and drafting of the declaration of performance has been completed.
Any construction product found to be non-compliant with the regulation shall have its’ CE marking revoked and be taken off of the European market.