There has been a lot of confusion, misunderstandings and buzz lately about the new requirement of CE Marking for Construction products and materials within the EU and more recently within UK (1st of July 2013).
All of these, lead to manufacturers running like headless chickens to get accredited the last days before the deadline, Clients not knowing what exactly the requirements are, Contractors not being sure if they are complying or not in their project and Accreditation Bodies overloaded with requests for issuing CE Marking certificates within hours.
Let’s try to shed some light and provide you with some useful links, in this (definitely) poorly planned situation:
What is CE Marking and why do we actually need it?
The CE marking is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1985. As a consumer you may have seen this marking in many products that you buy everyday in EU (or coming from EU). The CE Marking basically states that the product is assessed before being placed on the market and meets EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. It then enables the free movement of that product within the European market.
In which countries is this requirement mandatory?
This requirement applies to the EEA countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
What about construction products and materials?
Since, 1st of July 2013 CE Marking has become mandatory (it is a legal requirement!) for construction products and materials that are being traded and used in the countries stated above:
Here is an introductory video for CE Marking in Construction industry throughout Europe:
What exactly is considered a “construction product” ?
According to the above regulation :
‘Construction product’ means any product or kit which is produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works or parts thereof and the performance of which has an effect on the performance of the construction works with respect to the basic requirements for construction works;
‘Kit’ means a construction product placed on the market by a single manufacturer as a set of at least two separate components that need to be put together to be incorporated in the construction works;
‘Construction Works’ means buildings and civil engineering works;
What exactly is the Declaration of Performance (DoP)?
It’s basically a statement by the manufacturer, importer or distributor to assume legal responsibility for the conformity of the construction product with its declared performance. A copy of the DoP of each product which is made available on the market shall be supplied either in paper form or by electronic means or on a website. To put it simply: every product that has the CE Marking on it, should also be accompanied with the relevant DoP.
Which construction products must get a CE Marking?
That’s probably the Million Dollar question! There is no straight forward answer (Yes/No) and that is why people have been confused. The CE Marking is required :
“When a construction product is covered by a harmonised standard or conforms to a European Technical Assessment which has been issued for it, the manufacturer shall draw up a declaration of performance when such a product is placed on the market.”
So, what is a harmonised standard?
Are there any construction materials that are excluded from CE Marking?
Yes. You can read exactly which products can be excluded from the DoP and CE Marking in Article 5 of the EU Regulations.
Who can actually issue a conformity assessment in order to get the CE Marking?
As in other certificates (e.g. ISO 9001) there are certain organisations that can assess and verify conformance with the requirements in order to get the CE Marking. There are several systems of assessment which are described in Article 28 and ANNEX V of the EU Regulations. There are many organisations that can provide such services like BSI, Sandberg, TUV, BRE or BUREAU VERITAS (there are many more bodies in the market and you can easily find one with a google search).
What about Steel products?
For the fabricated steelwork covered by EN 1090-1 CE marking has become mandatory since the 1st July 2014.
Here is an introductory video from BCSA:
Where can I get more information and guidance?
The Construction Products Association in UK has issued a very helpful Guide with everything you need to know:
When a new new requirement (legal or not) becomes effective, it is always messy in the beginning till everyone in the industry understands what exactly is required and how to achieve it.
Let us know what kind of issues are you having with CE Marking in the comments section below.
If you are a contractor, how are you managing the requirement with your suppliers?
If you are a manufacturer, was it easy to get the certificate after all?