The European Regulation (UE) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and the Council of 9 March 2011, laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products, and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC, abbreviated as Construction Products Regulation (CPR), was implemented on 1st July 2013. This regulation exclusively concerns construction products covered by a European harmonised technical specification, (harmonised European Standard [hEN] or European Assessment Document [EAD).
Under the CPR, CE marking of construction products is mandatory for products covered by harmonised European product standards or that have been issued with a European Technical Assessment (ETA). In fact, CE marking of construction products is only possible against Harmonised European Product Standards and European Assessment Documents (EAD) exist. The term ‘harmonised’ means ‘agreed’ and in this sense agreed by the European Commission that the particular technical specification is suitable to support CE marking. Each hEN and EAD describes within an annex (Annex ZA) a conformity system required to comply with it. This may include self-declaration by the manufacturer, usually for product of less structural significance, or attestation supported by certification issued by a certification body that has been ‘Notified’ by a Member State government. The type of certification required will therefore depend on the nature of the product and the system of attestation ascribed to that product. CARES is such a notified certification body under the Construction Products Regulation and can offer the necessary Product Conformity certification and Factory Production Control certification. CARES has also been designated as a Technical Assessment Body (TAB) and can therefore also provide ETA’s.
The CE mark, unlike the CARES marks, is not a mark of quality and its use in relation to construction materials and products is aimed at creating a wider market for all such materials within the European Union countries. Products or materials bearing this mark are presumed fit for their intended use when incorporated into a building or other structure, and are free to circulate within the entire community with no further testing and certification work required.
CE marking may therefore be considered as presenting an opportunity to buy but not necessarily an obligation to use. Quality marks, like those provided by CARES, will continue to play a large part on the procurement and use of construction products in Europe. Please be aware that CARES some certification, perhaps adjusted slightly to ensure regulatory compliance, can enable CARES to the issue certificates which enable CE Marking.