The CE mark is a claim that a particular construction product can be legally placed on the market of member states of the European Economic Area (EEA) and indicates that the product is consistent with the data provided in the relevant Declaration of Performance as issued by the manufacturer. Under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) which superseded the Construction Products Directive (CPD) as the main legal instrument affecting the European construction industry, it is the Declaration of Performance which is now the key document for providing specifiers with the information they require to determine whether that product will enable the construction works to satisfy the Basic Works Requirements “when properly installed, maintained and used for its intended purpose”. The Basic Requirements for Construction Works as listed as given in the CPR are:
- Mechanical resistance and stability
- Safety in case of fire
- Hygiene, health and environment
- Safety & accessibility in use
- Protection against noise
- Energy economy and heat retention
- Sustainable use of natural resources
What information the manufacturer needs to provide in the CE marking is set out in the harmonised technical specifications. For a harmonised European standards this is set out in Annex ZA.3 and for a European Technical Assessment in a section in the European Assessment Document.
The aim of the CPR is to remove technical barriers to trade between European Member States for all construction products intended for “permanent incorporation in buildings and civil engineering works”. By technical barriers is meant the multitude of national standards existing within individual European countries each of which references different test methods. Under the CPR new European test methods and the means of measuring these, have been developed and accepted by all countries in the EEA.
In summary, CE marking is a passport that enables a construction product, irrespective of its origin, to be legally placed on the market of EEA member states. It means that a construction product meets certain minimum standards for health, safety and economy of energy. It is not a quality mark. The difference between a quality mark and the CE mark is that the certification system upon which quality marks operate is determined by the legal owner of that quality mark; e.g., BSI, whereas the CE mark represents a common approach to conformity that is recognised in all countries making up the EEA.
The challenge of interpreting and communicating the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation and particularly the details of CE Marking, is a major responsibility for the CPA’s Technical Team.
As a result of the continuously strong demand for information and answers from members and non-members alike, the CPA, 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), has produced a Guidance Note on the Construction Products Regulation.
This publication is intended as a guide to the implications of CE marking under the CPR for manufacturers, importers, distributors, specifiers, certification and test bodies, and regulatory/enforcement authorities.