DELEGATED ACT: CLASSIFICATION OF THE REACTION TO FIRE (CLASS F)

The European Commission has now published a new delegated act to define the classification of the reaction to fire performance of construction products. The reason to revise this classification was the meaning of classes F, FFL, FL and Fca. Up to now it was “No performance determined” (NPD) or fail class E but this definition was inconsistent with the definition of class in the CPR (range of levels, delimited by a minimum and a maximum value, of performance of a construction product).

The new classification redefines class F (including FFL, FL and Fca) as the lowest class. No other substantial changes were made, apart from adapting the wording to the terminology and the concepts used in the CPR. The European classification system has been consolidated regarding the reaction to fire of construction products. This Decision as amended contains four classification Tables for different families of construction products.

Classes of reaction to fire performance for construction products excluding floorings, linear pipe thermal insulation products, and electric cables

Class Test method(s) Classification criteria Additional classification
E EN ISO 11925-2(8):
Exposure = 15 s
Fs ≤ 150mm within 20s Flaming droplets/ particles (7)
F EN ISO 11925-2(8):
Exposure = 15 s
Fs > 150mm within 20s
…
 (7) No ignition of the paper = no additional classification; Ignition of the paper = d2 classification
 (8) Under conditions of surface flame attack and, if appropriate to the intended use of the product, edge flame attack

Classes of reaction to fire performance for floorings

Class Test method(s) Classification criteria Additional classification
EFL EN ISO 11925-2(8):
Exposure = 15 s
Fs ≤ 150mm within 20s
FFL EN ISO 11925-2(8):
Exposure = 15 s
Fs > 150mm within 20s
…
 (8) Under conditions of surface flame attack and, if appropriate to the intended use of the product, edge flame attack

Classes of reaction to fire performance for linear pipe insulation products

Class Test method(s) Classification criteria Additional classification
EL EN ISO 11925-2(8):
Exposure = 15 s
Fs ≤ 150mm within 20s Flaming droplets/ particles (7)
FL EN ISO 11925-2(8):
Exposure = 15 s
Fs > 150mm within 20s
…
 (7) No ignition of the paper = no additional classification; Ignition of the paper = d2 classification
 (8) Under conditions of surface flame attack and, if appropriate to the intended use of the product, edge flame attack

Classes of reaction to fire performance for electric cables

Class Test method(s) Classification criteria Additional classification
Eca EN 60332-1-2 H ≤ 425 mm
Fca EN 60332-1-2 H > 425 mm

Within all these Tables, Classes F, FFL, FL and Fca have been introduced for situations where the reaction to fire performance is lower than classes E, EFL, EL and Eca.

This change has an impact on Member States’ regulations, they will have to be amended to consider the new classification and the last class will no longer be “NPD”.

Manufacturers declaring classes F, FFL, FL or Fca from the date of entry into force of the delegated act (05/04/2016) are responsible for the fire performance of their products and they will not be able to claim that they did not determine it. The advice to manufacturers on this situation is to change their declaration to NPD in the case they do not want to claim any performance. If they keep class F the meaning of their declaration will be different than it was before.

The CPR provides options to reduce the burden of manufacturers claiming class F performance in article 36 (Use of Appropriate Technical Documentation):

[…] a manufacturer may replace type-testing by Appropriate Technical Documentation demonstrating that […] the construction product, […] corresponds to the product-type of another construction product, manufactured by another manufacturer and already tested in accordance with the relevant harmonised standard. When these conditions are fulfilled, the manufacturer is entitled to declare performance corresponding to all or part of the test results of this other product. The manufacturer may use the test results obtained by another manufacturer only after having obtained an authorisation of that manufacturer, who remains responsible for the accuracy, reliability and stability of those test result.

Therefore a group of manufacturers can share the testing of the product to declare classes F, FFL, FL or Fca. The way to do it is to develop an internal dossier with the test report of the other manufacturer, the agreement to use it and a technical document describing the correspondence of product-types between the products as regards fire performance. Manufacturers must also include a reference to this internal document in point 8 of their declaration of performance (but the document should not be attached to the DoP, just the reference).

DELEGATED ACT: ANNEX III

The European Commission has finally published the Delegated Regulation of 21st February amending Annex III of the Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 on the model to be used for drawing up a DoP on construction products.

The document, published in the Official Journal of the European Union and accessible through this link, has been developed to achieve three goals:

•    Allow the flexibility required by different kinds of construction products and manufacturers, including responding to technological progress.
•    Simplifying the DoP.
•    Provide further instructions to manufacturers to help them when drawing up the DoP in line with applicable legislation. Providing such instructions would also ensure a harmonised and correct application of Annex III.

The adoption of this delegated act will facilitate the drawing up of declarations of performance by manufacturers because they will be allowed to adapt the documents to their particular needs or uses, making the declarations of performance shorter, more user-friendly and understandable. This should both reduce administrative burden and increase clarity on the information concerning construction products covered by declarations of performance. Other changes introduced include the clarification that the product-type is defined in relation to a set of performance levels or classes of a construction product. This set of performance levels or classes are the essential part of the information contained in the DoP.

According to the new model it is clear that manufacturers can use the unique identification code (defined in the CPR) as the reference number of the related DoP and also that the traceability of products does not require including the type, batch or serial number in the declaration.

The final text also highlights that manufacturer have the responsibility to declare the performance in a clear and explicit manner, expressed by level or class, and in specific cases by description. Production documentation or structural design calculation documents are descriptions of the performance in relation to essential characteristics, notably of structural behaviour. Manufacturers should therefore not be allowed to only use references to other source documents when expressing the performance in the DoP.  For products linked to specific drawings or requirements from the customer, including references to them is allowed.

The identification of the notified bodies involved in AVCP of a construction product is considered useful information in the context of the DoP, especially for the purpose of market surveillance, as strongly emphasised by Member States during the consultation. The manufacturers are therefore obliged to include this information in declarations of performance that they draw up. The industry shares this view with the European Commission and the Member States for all AVCP systems except system 3, but the final text does not include an exception for this case as requested by the industry.

Another important change is the possibility to combine the points of the model by presenting some of them together. They are not obliged to follow the sequence of these points as in the model however, as long as the clarity of the information presented in the DoP can be maintained. Nevertheless, when the manufacturer includes a given point or clause in the DoP, the texts and the headlines of the model should be repeated. For the same reason, when the manufacturer uses one or more tables while drawing up the DoP, the table/s should cover all the points listed in the model which are applicable to the given product. In particular, the tables should link the harmonised technical specifications, the systems of assessment, verification of the constancy of performance applied respectively to each essential characteristic of the product and the performance in relation to each essential characteristic.

Annex III

New flexibility options for the Declaration of Performance

Manufacturer can also issue single DoP covering different variations of a product-type but certain elements need to be duplicated and listed separately and clearly for every product variation, in order to ensure accurate information for the end users. This is particularly for the number of the DoP, the unique identification code and the declared performances/s of the particular product variation.

This is an important development for the industry and will help manufacturers provide the information in the right way.

DELEGATED ACT: ANNEX V

The European Commission has finally published the Delegated Regulation of 18th February 2014 amending Annex V of the CPR regarding the assessment and verification of constancy of performance (AVCP) of construction products.

The document, published in the Official Journal of the European Union and accessible through this link, has been developed to achieve three goals:

•    Prescribe the particular treatment of products for which European Technical Assessments (ETA) are issued. In other words products voluntary CE marked through the EOTA route.
•    Simplify and bring clarity to the distribution and description of AVCP tasks.
•    Reflect the current application practices of the AVCP systems, taking into account the experiences reported by notified bodies, Member States and industry.

In the initial Annex V the role and the activities of Technical Assessment Bodies (TAB) and their organisation (EOTA) was not included. According to the CPR, TABs are not notified bodies but they carry out assessments of performance of construction products by issuing an ETA. The amended text clarifies that notified bodies and manufacturers do not have to undertake the tasks already developed by TABs and reported in the ETA (Annex V 1.6: Construction products for which an ETA has been issued).

This delegated regulation does not alter the distribution of tasks established by the CPR- the obligation for the manufacturer to determine the product-type remains. The tasks to be developed are the same but the wording in the description has been improved; for example the name of the certificates to be issued under systems 1+ and 1, are called certificates of constancy of performance of the products, the term factory has been replace by manufacturing plant and continuous surveillance is now continuing surveillance… to avoid the connotation of constant surveillance that continuous could have.

The different bodies in charge of product certification, factory production control certification and laboratories are now clearly defined and for acoustics, the essential characteristics are redefined by replacing noise absorption in Section 3 of Annex V by acoustic performance.

Finally, a transitional provision is proposed to allow manufacturers to continue using certificates and other documents which were issued by notified bodies applying the initial Annex V of the CPR.

To conclude we can say that this second delegated act of the Construction Products Regulation has been developed and approved faster than the previous one and without any opposition of the Parliament and the Member States in the Council. However, the final document does not contain certain information that is important for manufacturers, in particular the so-called cumulative AVCP systems, where more than one system is applied to a given construction product.

DELEGATED ACT: DoP ON WEBITES PUBLISHED IN THE OJEU

The European Commission has finally published today the much awaited Delegated Regulation of 30th October 2013 on the conditions for making a declaration of performance on construction products available on a website. Over the last six month, we have worked closely on this file with certain Members of the European Parliament and we are very grateful for their continued involvement and support.

The document published in the Official Journal of the European Union accessible through this link establishes the rules manufacturers must follow to upload the Declarations of Performance of their products in websites instead of sending them to their customers in paper form or by electronic means. The summary of the document is the following:

•    The delegated act does not change the responsibilities of the manufacturer or the other stakeholders in the construction chain. It only covers the ways in which the document can be provided.
•    The obligation to supply a paper copy of the declaration of performance if the recipient requests it remains and the contracting parties should continue to agree on the procedures to be followed when supplying product information.
•    The unique identification code included in the declaration of performance must link the information included in the document to every product. In addition, the user of the declaration has to be instructed on how to access the online information.
•    The declaration of performance, once uploaded, cannot change and must remain accessible for at least 10 years after the construction product has been placed on the market (this period may change through other delegated act).
•    The website hosting the declarations of performance should be kept continuously available and accessible, avoiding as far as possible its unavailability. Access must be free.

The regulation is a very important step to improving the communication of information in the construction industry and will help manufacturers and in particular SMEs save time and money when fulfilling the legal obligations of putting products on the market.

In addition to the content of the legal document in the explanatory memorandum of the European Commission, they include some interesting points. The first is related to the format in which the document should be uploaded; They explain that the declaration of performance should be displayed preferably using semantic web technologies (for example XML) but making sure that that it is displayed in a human readable format (for example HTML but also PDF). Furthermore they suggest the use of a standardised, machine readable format to allow interoperability with architectural tools.

The second point is about languages; it clarifies that the declaration of performance has to be supplied in the language or the languages required by the Member State where the product is made available meaning this requirement must be considered when developing the online tools to provide the information.

Last but not least, the memorandum explains how the other documents requested by the Construction Products Regulation must be considered, in particular the information related to REACH, if relevant, has to be provided together with the declaration of performance on the website. The same approach should be considered when there is a need to provide instructions and safety information of the product.

Seven months after the entry in force of the Construction Products Regulation, the first delegated act is now finished and applicable.  Two more delegated acts will follow soon and hopefully before the end of the year the gaps of the regulation needing further discussions will be closed.

DOCUMENTS TO BE PROVIDED WITH CONTRUCTION PRODUCTS (DoP)

The Construction Products Regulation requires that once a construction product is placed on the market it is accompanied by the following documents:

-Declaration of Performance (DoP)
-CE marking

And in some cases:

-REACH information
-Instructions and safety information

This article will explain the first document (DoP) as it was not required by the Construction Products Directive but now it is the core of the legal declaration.

Manufacturers must develop a new document called Declaration of Performance (DoP) for products covered by the CPR. This document shall be based on existing information (initial type testing, tests, certificates…) for products already in the market and on new assessments for new products. The document contains a lot of information, including the performance of the product expressed as the declared values for the essential characteristics described in the hEN or ETA. In particular the document contains the following:

–The reference of the product-type, meaning the code to identify the product in relation to its performance according to the essential characteristics. Every set of performances for each manufacturing process and raw materials must be encoded with a single product-type

–System or systems of assessment and verification of constancy of performance (AVCP system). This defines the activities and processes that the product must go through (e.g. testing, assessments, factory production control…) and who would be in charge of this (manufacturer, notified body or notified laboratory).

–The reference number and date of issue of the hEN or ETA used. These documents contain the list of essential characteristics applicable to the product

–The reference number of the Specific Technical Documentation when manufacturers use simplified procedures. This case will be explained in detail in another article but only a limited number of products can benefit from the simplified procedures.

–The intended use or uses for the construction product, in accordance with the applicable hEN or ETA. The harmonised technical documentation covers only some intended uses and the essential characteristics applicable to each intended use are described in this document. This reference allows recipients of the document to check that the right information is included.

–The full list of essential characteristics and performances. From the full list, at least one of the relevant essential characteristics with the intended use or uses must be declared. Manufacturers can declare ‘NPD’ (No Performance Determined) for those essential characteristics for which no performance is declared.

The Declaration of Performance has to follow the model included in the Annex III of the Construction Products Regulation but this Annex is currently under revision by the European Commission and a new version is expected in 2014. The reason of the revision is the lack of flexibility of the document; in fact it is difficult fill it in for some products.

According to the Construction Products Directive manufacturers must issue a Certificate of conformity or declaration of conformity but this requirement is no longer demanded. Declaration of Performance DoP substitutes this document.

DoP has to be provided in the language or the languages required by the Member State where the product is made available (sometimes more than one).

The Regulation distinguishes the actions “make available on the market” and “place on the market” (see diagram below). A product is made available on the market when it is supplied by an economic operator to another i.e. the ownership of the product changes. The first time manufacturers or importers make the product available on the European market it is said that the product is “placed on the market”. This can only happen one time.

Place_make_available_CPR

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CONTENT OF hEN & EAD – ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS AND BASIC REQUIREMENTS

In this article we will explain how the harmonised technical specifications (hEN and EAD) become the tools to implement the requirements described in the CPR.

According to the CPR, Construction works must adhere to certain health and safety requirements throughout their life cycle, which are defined under seven Basic Requirements of Construction Works (BRCW):

1. Mechanical resistance and stability
2. Safety in case of fire
3. Hygiene, health and the environment
4. Safety and accessibility in use
5. Protection against noise
6. Energy economy and heat retention
7. Sustainable use of natural resources

‘Essential characteristics’ are the properties used for construction products covered by the Regulation when assessing the performance of construction works according to BRCW requirements. Some examples of essential characteristics are flexural strength, fire resistance, water permeability or resistance to impact.

The list of essential characteristics relevant for each product can be found in the relevant harmonised technical specification, and in the particular case of harmonised standards, in their Annexes Z.A. In addition to this list, harmonised technical specifications also include testing, calculation and other means for assessing performance in relation to these essential characteristics.

Experts work both under the CEN and the EOTA management to write the harmonised technical specification in the best way to provide a good assessment of the construction product subject to the described requirements.

The process to develop harmonised standards (hEN) is quite idiosyncratic. Standards are requested by the European Commission, which then sends the CEN Management Center (CCMC) a “standardisation mandate”. This document is developed by the EC itself, usually taking into account the demands of the industry, the construction stakeholders and the market. During the drafting of the mandate, the EC undertake a consultation stage to build informal consensus on the terms of the mandate between all interested parties within the EC, such as other General Directorates (DG), and other possible external parties, such as CEN, the Member States and the industry.

After receiving the mandate, the CCMC sends the project to the concerned Technical Committees (TC). The Committee drafts the document and the answer to the mandate then both documents are revised by a CEN Consultant. After it’s approved, the draft standard is submitted either to CEN enquiry + Formal vote or to Unique Acceptance Procedure UAP.
When the draft standard is approved (according to the CEN rules) it is ready to be formally cited in the Official Journal of the European Union and after that it is the official reference that contains the assessment and valid performance of the essential characteristics linked to the BRCW.

The process can be repeated for every product family but also in cases where the essential requirements have to be amended due to industry or market requirements, improvement or development of new test methods etc…

Usually the harmonised technical specifications are the only documents used for manufacturers, contractors, and designers of architects. The core of these documents are the essential characteristics but we should not forget that they are only the characteristics to evaluate the performance of the construction work in relation to the seven basic requirements.

We will come back to the construction works requirements in our articles, especially to BRCW number 7, Sustainable use of natural resources, because it was introduced in the Construction Products Regulation (in force since 1 July 2013) and for the time being the mandates do not cover it, therefore there are no relating essential characteristics.

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CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS COVERED BY THE CPR

One of the first questions when dealing with a regulation is to know what products are covered by it. The reply is slightly complicated but interesting: CPR covers construction products in two different ways; for some products the CPR requirements are compulsory and for others they are voluntary. We will explain both these cases in detail.

Applying CPR is compulsory for products included in the scope of a harmonised Product Specification (hEN). Manufacturers, according to the testing and calculations given in the text of the hEN, have to declare the performance of the products in the documents described in the CPR (including the CE marking and the Declaration of Performance). In particular, the declaration has to be made for the essential characteristics described in the Annex ZA of the hEN. Moreover, it is this Annex that is the tool to be used when developing the documents required by the CPR.

The standards developed by the Technical Committees of CEN become hEN when their titles are published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). The format in the OJEU is a table including the number of the hEN, the title and the dates for the co-existence period. Applying the regulation is compulsory from the end of the co-existence period and voluntary between the beginning and the end of it. The last update of the list published can be found through this link.

OJEU hEN

For the products not included in the scope of the hEN, the regulation offers an alternative through European Technical Assessments (ETA), known as Technical Approvals. In this case manufacturers can voluntarily request an assessment of the product from a Technical Assessment Body (TAB) to provide their clients with the information described in the CPR. Technical Assessment Bodies in this respect are (amongst others) the Approval Bodies known in the European Member States.

The documents containing the assessment methodology are called European Assessment Documents (EAD). TAB, using the EAD, assess the performance of the product and give the manufacturer a ETA which contains the results for the essential characteristics. Manufacturers use the information in the ETA to prepare the documents described in the CPR (including the CE marking and the Declaration of Performance).

The European Commission also publish the list of EADs in the OJEU when they are adopted by the association of TAB called EOTA. There is no co-existence period for EAD or ETA because they are issued under request from manufacturers for a specific product.

Products not included in the scope of a hEN and not assessed using a ETA cannot be CE marked according to the CPR. The most common products in this situation are innovative products for which the standards and assessment have not been developed but every year the list of products covered either in the compulsory or voluntary way grows.

CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS – FROM THE DIRECTIVE TO THE REGULATION

Construction products have been regulated at European level for many years: the first horizontal legal document related to construction products, the Construction Products Directive (CPD), was adopted the 21st December 1988 (89/106/EEC), and published in the Official Journal on 11th February 1989.

The first CE marking issued for a construction product under the CPD was affixed in 1998 to an anchor bolt and manufacturers used the voluntary option through a European Technical Approval. After the publication of the harmonised product standards in 2001, the first products covered by the compulsory requirement of CE marking were cement and thermal insulation.

Timeline CPD CPRThe 12 year period between the adoption of the CPD and the first application to a product may appear to be quite a long period but, in order to finalize the application of the CE marking, many things were required first. It was necessary to write interpretative documents for the 35 to 40 families of products used in construction; identify the links between product characteristics and the requirements applicable to the construction works (finished in 1993); address mandates to CEN to draft harmonised product standards, and also to EOTA to prepare European Technical Approvals (between 1996 and 2003) .

When those preparatory tasks were achieved, the CE marking and its accompanying information finally started to be affixed on products.
Since 2001, more than 400 harmonized products standards have been finalized by CEN, in conformity with mandates, and the list keep growing. Those product standards are supported by more than 1500 supporting standards containing test and other assessment methods. The references to these standards were cited in the Official Journal of the European Union, allowing their legal entering into force. Therefore, there are now more than 400 families of products on which the CE marking and the supply of the required information accompanying the CE marking have to be affixed.
Beside harmonised product standards, more than 3000 European Technical Approvals have been issued for individual products, allowing them to benefit from the advantages of CE marking.

The application of the CPD let manufacturers and authorities (European Commission and Members States) discover the weakness of the text i.e. lacks of clarity for some clauses, and complex implementation in Member States.

The Commission started the CPD revision procedure in 2006 with the objective of clarifying the text and to simplify its application, taking into account the lessons of the past experience. After a public consultation on the strength and weakness of the CPD, the European Commission also decided to focus on the difficulties of SMEs and micro-enterprises.

These objectives led the Commission to prepare the initial proposal for a revised text, which was made available on 23rd May 2008 (COM (2008) 311 final). With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the 1st December 2009, the former co-decision procedure, now called the ordinary legislative procedure, had been extended to almost all European Directives and Regulations, including the case for the Construction Products Regulation.

For the CPR, the European Parliament accepted the proposal from the European Commission in its first reading, on 24th of April 2009, but tabled 101 amendments which included some substantial changes in the fundamental basis of the text. The Council then examined the draft, and after a year and half of discussions and more than 50 meetings, agreed in principle with a number of the main changes introduced by the Parliament. On this basis, the Council prepared a new version of the CPR, taking into consideration the initial proposal from the European Commission, and introduced amendments.

During the second reading, a compromise was found between the three European Institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and Council) allowing the publication of the text which was adopted by the Parliament on 18th January 2011, fully adopted by the three European Institutions on 9th March 2011 and then published 4th April 2011 in the Official Journal of the European Union, Regulation (EU) No 305/2011.

CPR’s full entry into force is 1st July 2013 and we will explain in this blog details about the content, the implementation and our own interpretation of this Regulation.

WELCOME TO CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS EUROPE BLOG

We are very pleased to announce the launch of our blog that we have set up as a forum to discuss relevant construction-related topics. The focus will be on Construction Product Regulation but we will also include other related topics, so please feel free to input into the discussions taking place on the blog. To be able to comment on an article, you can click on the individual article and fill in your details and response in the comment box at the bottom of each post.

The first article covers the history of the CPD and the reasons behind why it is now changing to CPR. We will be posting new articles in the very near future covering topics such as the construction products covered by the CPR and a breakdown of what the implementation of the regulation actually means for construction product manufacturers.

We decided to start this blog as blogs are far more interactive than newsletters and most websites and it is easier to put ideas forward in this forum rather than on Twitter. Everyone is welcome to comment and we will feature guest bloggers in the future! If you have any questions or comments please email communications@construction-products.eu.

You can visit our website for futher information on the work that we do as an association here. We will also announce on twitter whenever we have a new discussion and also feature highlights from the blog, so keep up to date with us here.

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