CE marking is a ‘minefield’ for construction industry

Published:  07 April, 2014

The UK’s construction industry and its supply base is walking a tightrope over CE markings for construction products, according to an industry supplier.

The warning, from Tarmac Building Products, is aimed at specifiers, contractors and local authorities who have a duty of care to ensure that all products used on construction projects conform to the new regulations, where applicable.

Despite the new CE markings legislation being in place for over nine months, many construction companies using heavy construction materials, and also many companies supplying the building products sector, remain confused over CE markings on key products.

Stuart Allerton, quality systems manager at Tarmac Building Products, said: “CE marking, especially given last year’s changes, can be a minefield for customers and suppliers. Under the new Construction Products Regulations, only those products covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN) or European Technical Assessment (ETA) require a CE mark.

“It is vital that specifiers, designers, contractors and local authorities, who are responsible for ensuring their products have the correct characteristics for their specified projects, understand which products need to be CE marked and those that do not.”

On 1 July, 2013 it became mandatory for manufacturers to display CE markings for certain products as part of the European Commission’s 2011 Construction Products Regulation. Prior to the July 2013 legislation update, manufacturers only needed to CE mark products on a voluntary basis. The Construction Products Regulation is part of EU law and, unlike an EU Directive, there is no opt-out.

Mr Allerton continued: “The problems stem from continuing confusion over which products are covered by the directive and which are not. For example, ready-to-use mortars, floor levellers, tile adhesives, concreting sand, render, screed, aggregate blocks and railway ballast are all covered by the regulations.

“However, ready-mixed concrete is one such product which does not require a CE marking, despite being used in large volumes within the heavy construction market. The reasoning behind concrete’s notable absence relates to the fact that the European Standard for concrete is not a harmonised standard and therefore this product cannot be CE marked.”

In advance of 1 July, 2013 many suppliers to the construction industry put their products through a rigorous testing regime which included the creation of Declarations of Performance and the preparation and maintenance of technical files (technical data related to the CE marking of the product) for all affected products. In addition independent testing and third party audits have been carried out by notified bodies for relevant products.

Mr Allerton continued: “My advice to the construction industry is to check whether the products being used need to be covered by the CE markings. Manufacturers are now obliged to provide this information to customers, for instance on websites, such as www.pozament.co.uk which details all the relevant information for the Pozament range of self-levelling floor screeds, mortars, plasters, renders, tile adhesives and concrete repair products.

“It is vital that this information is made available to customers - from the jobbing builder to national construction firms – in order to ensure familiarity with the new regulations and the correct specification.”

For more information on CE markings, visit: www.pozament.co.uk/blog/ce-marking/.

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