Construction products are subject to the freedom of movement rules in accordance with regulation (EU) 305/2011.
This regulation simplifies the legal framework. Unlike a directive, a regulation is directly applicable in all the Member States.
The directive defines the rules for affixing the CE mark. This European legislation uses a common language (the harmonised technical specifications) to allow the performance of construction products to be assessed.
In numerous cases, the construction products are not end-products but, rather, intermediate products. They include different products such as concrete units.
These are mainly intended for use in construction projects, like buildings, bridges and roads.
The construction projects must satisfy seven basic requirements. These requirements must be met during a lifetime that is "reasonable from an economic perspective" and throughout their life cycle. It should be noted in passing that the requirement concerning the sustainable use of natural resources is a new element of the regulation.
To satisfy these requirements, it is important to guarantee the performance of the products used in the works, in terms of both building construction and civil engineering.
CE marking and the declaration of performance
To enable products to be selected in line with their intended use, construction products bearing the CE marking must be accompanied by a declaration of performance.
The CE marking is not affixed to all construction products.
A manufacturer is required to affix the CE marking when there is a harmonised standard for his product. The harmonised standard is the only means of establishing a declaration of performance for a construction product covered by this standard.
A manufacturer can also affix EC marking to other construction products. In this case, the manufacturer must have a European Technical Approval or a European Technical Assessment. Since 1 July 2013, only European Technical Assessments are still being issued.
The European Technical Approval is an instrument that was introduced within the framework of European Directive 89/106/EEC. It comprises a favourable technical assessment of a product for an intended use. A European Technical Approval remains valid until its expiry date.
To assess the performance of construction products, the regulation provides for five assessment and verification systems of the consistency of the performances with their essential characteristics: 1+, 1, 2+, 3 and 4.
This classification takes account of the role of the products in work safety. Those products considered to have the most important role are classified in system 1+. Each system includes different tasks to be carried out by the manufacturer or notified body on a case-by-case basis.
Obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors
By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer or importer indicates when placing the product on the market, that she assumes responsibility for the compliance of the product with the declared performance.
The distributor must make sure that the product bears the CE marking and that it is accompanied by the necessary documents for its proper use, including the declaration of performance and the instruction manual.
Selecting or ordering a construction product
A construction project (a home building or civil engineering project) must comply with the applicable national provisions (at federal, regional or municipal level). The project must also satisfy the objectives set within the framework of its construction, transformation, repair or maintenance. So that they can comply with the provisions and achieve the desired objectives, the projects are carried out using products whose essential characteristics display satisfactory performance.
The choice of product is the responsibility of the user concerned. Depending on the function of the project, it must take account of different criteria, including in particular:
- the techniques used,
- the construction system,
- the economic aspects
and the balance of the performance of the products with the intended use.
The central question in the choice of construction products is their performance as regards their intended use. This forms the link between the basic requirements of the projects and the essential characteristics of the products.
Source : FPS Economy
The COPRO and BENOR voluntary quality marks are aimed at quality
The voluntary quality marks not only cover the legal minimum performance of a construction project in terms of health and safety; they also meet all the quality expectations of the contracting authority.
The voluntary quality marks are always based on a product certification; in other words, the quality of the product is always confirmed by a third party, the certifying body. The certification system applied is of a high level. This brings together all the external inspection elements that are not always covered by the CE certification procedure with a frequency of external inspections which enables the contracting authority to have an adequate level of confidence that the compliance of the product is continuously guaranteed.
The voluntary quality marks cover all of the product characteristics defined in the technical specifications and certify the performance of the products in accordance with their use in the construction works. These performances are specified in the appropriate specifications applied nationally in the form of NBN standards or standard directions (e.g. PTV) which take account of specific environmental and implementation conditions, as well as the quality level of the products expected by the contracting authority.
The CE marking certifies the compliance of construction products with the health and safety regulations for construction in the EU Member State where the product is being marketed.
The voluntary quality marks certify the compliance of construction products with the quality expectations of the contracting authority when they are used in construction work.