The Construction Products Regulation and its impact on harmonised European standards

The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) 305/2011 has become mandatory in all its parts on 1 July 2013. As a consequence, CE-marking is mandatory for all construction products placed on the market for which harmonised standards are in place. The CPR aims to ensure that reliable performance-related data is made available, by means of Declarations of Performance (DoP), in relation to construction products being placed on the European market. This also includes “Safety in Case of Fire”, which is one of the seven “Basic Requirements for Construction Works”.

The primary purpose of the CPR is to break down technical barriers to trade in order to ensure the free movement of construction products across Member States within the European Union. It does this by providing for:

  • a system of harmonised technical specifications (over 420 harmonised standards for construction products (hENs) are currently in force),
  • an agreed system of attestation of conformity and verification of constancy for each product family (as set out in the harmonised technical specifications),
    • a framework of notified bodies, and
    • the mandatory CE-marking of products as a passport to the internal European market.

The DoP is the key concept in the CPR. It replaces the Attestation of Conformity (AoC) of the Construction Products Directive CPD. The manufacturer shall draw up a DoP when a product covered by a harmonised standard (hEN) or a European Technical Assessment (ETA) is placed on the market. The manufacturer, by drawing up his DoP, assumes the responsibility for the conformity of the construction product with the declared performance. The big challenge for the manufacturer is that all harmonized EU standards have to be revised by substituting AoC by DoP in their annexes ZA.

There are still no harmonised European requirements for the Basic Requirement “Hygiene, Health and the Environment”. However, they are already partly introduced into the revised harmonised product standards following commission mandates covering dangerous substances. Some Member States already regulate indoor emissions and make national marks compulsory in addition to the CE-Mark. This applies for

  • Germany: additional mark Ü-Zeichen (DIBt/AgBB)
  • France: additional indoor air emissions mark
  • Belgium: to follow with additional mark similar to German Ü-Zeichen

This is seen by the Commission as a possible barrier to trade against the CE-Mark from national indoor emissions regulations

It is important to note that the CPR does not aim to harmonise national building codes. Each Member State is free to set its own requirements and safety levels.

In terms of fire safety, the compulsory classification system for construction products using data from reaction to fire tests (i.e. non-combustibility, flammability, lateral flame spread, heat release) is described in EN 13501. Voluntary European classification criteria and tests concern smoke development, burning drips and acidity for cables; they may be taken over by single Member States in compulsory national regulations. The voluntary EU classifications and tests, which have been taken over by Member States as compulsory national regulations, are

  • Burning drips requirements in Austria, France, Hungary, Italy, Spain
  • Smoke development requirements in Hungary, the Netherlands, Nordic countries, Poland

Although there are no classification systems and tests for toxicity on European level, Poland has national requirements for the toxicity of construction products.

More on the CPR: