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.
The 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.