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)
And in some cases:
-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.
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.
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.
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.