What does the Construction Product Regulation mean for the designer?

Below you will find some key points of the Construction Product Regulation (305/2011) discussed in relation to frequently asked questions from the designer’s point of view.

  

What is the purpose of the CE-marking?

 

The purpose of the CE-marking is to improve mobility of construction products within the European economic area.

  

What does the CE-marking stand for?

 

By affixing the CE-marking on the construction product the manufacturer states that the product characteristics are declared as required by harmonised product standard (hEN) or European technical approval or assessment.

 

The CE-marking is a consistent way of declaring product performance. When construction product characteristics are measured, classified and declared the same way with similar products, it is easier to compare construction product characteristics to the requirements. Together, these characteristics form product performance.

  

What are the benefits of the CE-marking?

 

The CE-marking enables a uniform comparison between product characteristic values declared by the manufacturer and characteristic requirements set for a product at the construction project. Requirements set for a product come from construction site planning solutions that must fulfil the requirements of national construction legislation.

 

With the help of the CE-marking, designer and construction product purchaser find it easier to estimate the compatibility of a construction product and construction site. The marking makes comparing construction products with one another easier, as well.

 

The CE-marking itself does not guarantee that the product complies with any national requirements set for a product to be used at a certain type of site. For example, Finnish energy provisions may require better thermal insulation capacity from a window product that is correctly CE-marked and suitable for use in southern Europe.

  

What do the Declaration of Performance (DoP) and CE-marking describe?

 

Both the CE-marking and the DoP usually contain at least the following information:

  • Manufacturer’s name and address
  • The declared performance of product characteristics (if necessary, listed according to intended use)
  • Reference to the harmonised European standard (hEN)
  • Construction product’s intended use.

 

What does performance describe?

 

In different product groups the levels or classes of performance are used to describe differing aspects. See examples below.

 

  • If the DoP states “Compression strength - 31 MPa”, then it means that the compression strength of the product is a minimum of 31 MPa as defined in the standard “EN 14080:en Timber structures. Glued laminated timber. Requirements”.
  • If the DoP states “Reaction to fire - Class A1" as , then it means that the “European fire test class” of the product and the fire test classification itself are according to the classification defined in the EN 13501-1 standard, which is the standard that the “EN 13162:en Thermal insulation products for buildings. Factory made mineral wool (MW) products. Specification” requires to be used.


Which products require a CE-marking?

 

A construction product must be CE-marked when it belongs within the scope of application of a harmonised standard (hEN) after the transition period or when the manufacturer has applied and been granted European technical assessment (ETA) for the product. Other construction products must not be CE-marked under the Construction Products Regulation.  For harmonised product standards and their transition periods, please refer to hEN Helpdesk.

  

If the harmonised product standard does not allow CE-marking, the manufacturer has the option of acquiring the CE-marking (for declaring product characteristics for export or domestic markets, for example) after the European technical assessment (ETA). This so called ETA procedure is introduced in more detail at the Ministry of the Environment website.

 

If the manufacturer is unwilling to acquire the CE-marking, the validity of the product can be showed under the Finnish Act on the Approval of Certain Construction Products (954/2012). Related to the Act is a decree that lists different product groups and procedures required to show their validity. The decree is currently under preparation but a draft version is available at the Ministry of the Environment website.

  

What does transition period mean in regard to harmonised standard?

 

The harmonised product standard includes the annex ZA, and information on the approval and transition period of the standard is published in the Official Journal of the European union. The hEN Helpdesk has information on each standard and transition period of each version. Usually the transition spans one year, although there are some exceptions. As long as transition is on-going, CE-marking is voluntary.

 

Even if the transition period of the newest version of the harmonised product standard was on-going, the transition may have ended for the previous version. Therefore, CE-marking is obligatory even in such cases.

 

How does the Construction Products Regulation affect the building plan?

 

The designer marks the product’s regulated basic requirements and their levels in the plan according to the harmonised standard (hEN).

 

Conventionally, Finnish government regulations on house construction can be found in the the National Building Code of Finland. The Code is being renewed and the new statutes will enter into force as Acts or decrees. New statutes cannot be renewed as quickly as would be practical due to a shortage of resources at the Ministry of the Environment. Because of that Finnish standards writing bodies are releasing national application standards (NAS), published under the SFS 7000 series, that are officially recommendations but as such very practical for the designer, among others.  Usually the NASs contain information on the required performance of different product characteristics for different intended use(s).

 

Minimum requirements for performance are often defined by government regulations and NASs. Even manufacturers whose product groups are without a harmonised standard (hEN) but who have applied for an ETA for their products are advised to follow procedures defined in the ETA for declaring performance. Currently, the ETA is often based on the European Technical Approval Guidelines (ETAG). A list of currently valid ETAG guidelines is maintained by EOTA.

 

Where to acquire appropriate harmonised standards (hEN) and national application standards?

 

In Finland, they can be purchased through the Finnish Standards Association (SFS).

 

What if I detect a product with inadequate CE-marking being sold?

 

These construction products must be reported to the market surveillance authority. There is a form available on the Tukes website for this particular use.