The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) was sited in the Official Journal in 2011 and all parts finally come into force on the 1st of July 2013. However, it appears there are still missing gaps in the knowledge of the construction industry. Paul Duggan of Exova Warrington Certification Ltd looks at what is in store.
It seems there is a lot to achieve between now and July 1st when key parts of the Construction Products Regulation become enforceable by law including the CE marking of products.
The CPR will directly affect all manufacturers, distributors, end users, specifiers and architects in the whole supply chain.
This will be the construction industry’s most significant change for a long time in the way in which construction products are sold in Europe.
Harmonised EN standards
From July 1st 2013, under the Construction Products Regulation 2011 (CPR), it will become mandatory for manufacturers or the legal entity whom is placing a product on the market to apply CE marking to any of their products which are covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN).
Hardware products, for example door closers, hinges, panic and emergency exit devices and locks, will also need to have the new Declaration of Performance (DoP) for declaring the essential characteristics, which is a new requirement under the CPR.
European Technical Assessment (ETA)
Where a manufacturer chooses to test fire-stopping products for example, ablative coated boards, putty and fire stop pillows to a European Technical Assessment (ETA) which has a clause allowing for CE marking, then the manufacturer will have to also apply a CE mark and produce a DoP for the product, the same as an harmonised EN standard.
DoPs are replacing the current Manufacturers Declarations, which are currently produced when declaring a performance of the product for ENs or ETAs.
Affixing of the CE mark under the provisions of the existing Construction Products Dircetive (CPD) is currently voluntary in the UK and some other member countries, so this is a major change in some areas of the UK construction industry.
The CE marking should be affixed to all construction products for which the manufacturer is declaring compliance with the regulations. From this a DoP will be produced and will reflect the CE marking requirements.
The whole market changes on July 1st. It is really quite simple. NO DoP, no CE marking. No CE marking, no product for market.
One of the priorities is to make all products traceable back to the person placing the product legally on the market, the legal entity.
At Exova Warrington Certification - part of Exova Group - we have been involved in drafting DoP templates for hardware products and external doorsets with the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) and the Doors and Hardware Federation (DHF).
Both these trade associations and Exova Warrington Certification will make the DoPs available on their websites very soon for members to download and use. By placing a product on the market which is CE marked you are obliged to declare its performance requirements. Once produced, DoPs can be made available on websites electronically so they don’t have to be hard copies.
One of the major consequences of these duties is traceability.
Distributors-importers become crucial in this respect. They can become the legal entity and they sell products under their own name and brand. If they don’t then they have to sell each brand separately with its own stock record number, so that traceability is achieved back to the legal entity placing the product on the market.
For this purpose, the definition of a distributor is "any natural or legal person in the supply chain, other than the manufacturer or the importer, who makes a construction product available on the market.”
Not only has the product to attain conformity with the DoP but it must maintain its conformity throughout its period of storage and transportation to site.
If a product available on the market is found not to be in compliance with the requirements of the DoP then every step should be taken to correct this or it should be withdrawn or recalled from the market.
If a product presents a risk, then the competent authority of the member state should be informed immediately. Details of the non-compliance will be needed and any corrective measures should be taken.
For the UK, Trading Standards will be the main organisation responsible for enforcement.
Products already CE marked under the CPD
Construction products which have been placed on the market in accordance with Directive 89/106/EEC before 1 July 2013 shall be deemed to comply with the CPR.
Manufacturers or the legal entity may draw up a DoP now on the basis of a certificate or declaration of conformity, which has been issued by a Notified Body before July 1, 2013 in accordance with Directive 89/106/EEC.
Guidelines for European technical approvals published before July 1, 2013 in accordance with Article 11 of Directive 89/106/EEC may be used as European Assessment Documents.
Manufacturers and importers may use European technical approvals issued in accordance with Article 9 of Directive 89/106/EEC before July 1, 2013 as ETAs throughout the period of validity of those approvals.
Legally, there has also been some confusion in the change from the Construction Products Directive (CPD) to the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). While there is a difference, it is not immediately obvious.
A Directive is a legislative act of the EU, which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result; usually through a variety of legislative procedures.
When adopted, directives give member states a transposition time period for the implementation of the harmonised national legislation.
Regulation is a legislative act of the EU that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously.
This date is usually stated within the text of the regulation. They can be adopted through a variety of legislative procedures depending on their subject matter.
The important point here is that, in the case of the CPR, there is no lengthy transition period for the harmonisation of national regulations.
The regulation comes into force on the date stated, and is both national and European law from that date.
The change to CPR will not have a great effect on those already CE marking products, those member states which currently mandate CE marking under the CPD or those manufacturers whose products are subject to a European Technical Assessment or European Assessment Documents. The main change will be producing the new DoP.
However, the CPR will have a significant effect on those who may have been ‘sheltering’ under the CPD. There is no flexibility on the start date or duties involved.
Articles 13, 14 & 15 sets out ‘Obligation of Importers, Distributors & Manufacturers.’
Importers, Distributors and Manufacturers shall ensure products bear the CE mark before placing it on the market and has the required accompanying documents including DoP.
If a product is not in conformity with the DoP, there is a duty to withdraw or recall products.
There is now a clear duty on importers, manufacturers and distributors to inform the national authority of Member states in severe cases, in the UK the Trading Standards.
An additional requirement is for each importer. manufacturer or distributor to establish National ‘Product Contact Points’ to assist traceability.