The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) was formerly published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) on 4 April 2011 and replaced the Construction Products Directive (CPD). The first parts of the Regulation came into force 20 days after its publication in the OJEU and the remaining parts became a legal requirement on 1 July 2013. In the UK, the Sustainable Building Division of the Department for Communities and Local Government has the government lead.
A Regulation is the most direct form of EU law – as soon as they are passed, they have binding legal force throughout every Member State on a par with national laws. This is different to a Directive which requires authorisation within each Member State to make it legally binding at a national level.
The CPR introduces seven Basic Requirements for Construction Works (BRCW) which replace the original six Essential Requirements of the CPD. In addition to the introduction of BRCW 7 – Sustainable use of natural resources – further new requirements have also been added in BRCW 3 (Hygiene, health and the environment), BRCW 4 (safety and accessibility in use) and BRCW 6 (Energy economy and heat retention. These new requirements may well give rise in time to new provisions for construction products and these will eventually be included in the individual product standards and the harmonised technical specifications.
This has major repercussions – if an EU Member State now wants to regulate in this area it will have to do so using European standards.
These changes, coupled with others introduced by the CPR, mean that the construction industry is facing one of its most significant changes for many years in the way in which construction products are to be sold in Europe. This includes (from 01 July 2013) manufacturers having a mandatory requirement to apply CE marking to their products manufactured to a European technical specification.
The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) was preceded by the Construction Products Directive (CPD) of 1989 which introduced a common framework for the regulations for construction products and was one of the early directives from the EU designed to create a single market for goods and services.
The mechanism adopted by the CPD was for the construction works to meet a series of Essential Requirements. These six Essential Requirements have now been replaced by seven Basic Requirements for construction words under the CPR. This necessitated construction products having to enable the finished construction works to meet one or more of the six Essential Requirements. This activity was placed in the hands of the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) to develop European standards for all construction products to support these Essential Requirements (which are now the Basic Requirements for construction works).
EU Member States, including the UK, have to use the standards and cannot use national standards if a European standard is in existence.
In partnership with the British Board of Agrément (BBA), British Standards Institution (BSI) and Building Research Establishment (BRE), and in consultation with the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), the Construction Products Association has produced a Guidance Note on the Construction Products Regulation.