Posts in Category: European Commission

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: 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.