The Construction Products Regulation is coming soon and the European Reaction to Fire Standards have been revised

The revision of the Construction Products Directive (CPD) has been completed and will become the Construction Products Regulation (CPR). The CPR has been adopted in the 2nd reading of the EU Parliament on 18 January 2011 and will become legally binding mid or end of 2011. The regulation will formally enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. However, many of its provisions will apply only as from 1 July 2013, because a transition period is needed. The former time-consuming national implementation of the CPD into the respective national regulations has now ended.

The CPR regulates construction products covered by a harmonized European standards or conforming to a European Technical Assessment. These products are allowed to use a CE Mark, a "passport" to free circulation in the European Member States. In the future, the declarations made in a CE-Mark will be monitored by the single Member States, and the controls for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) as well as "micro-enterprises" lowered.

There are no significant changes regarding fire safety. The six Essential Requirements of the CPD, which include "Safety in Case of Fire", have been renamed in the CPR as "Basic Requirements for Construction Works". A new requirement "Sustainable Use of Natural Resources" has been added in Annex A of the CPR. It says that "the construction works must be designed, built and demolished in such a way that the use of natural resources is sustainable and in particular ensure the following:

  1. re-use or recyclability of the construction works, their materials and parts after demolition;
  2. durability of the construction works;
  3. use of environmentally compatible raw and secondary materials in the construction works.

It is not clear, what impact the new sustainability basic requirement may have on the use of construction products in the future. The revision of the European reaction to fire tests by CEN/TC 127 has been completed. The following amended standards have been published in 2010 and mostly taken over since as national tests by the Member States:

  • Non-combustibility test (EN ISO 1182)
  • Calorific potential test (EN ISO 1716)
  • Single Burning item (SBI) test (EN 13823)
  • Small flame test (EN ISO 11952-2), and
  • Flooring fire test (EN ISO 9239-1).

As the European Commission does not allow changes which may alter the classification of already tested construction products, the revised standards basically contain only editorial changes and corrigenda rather than technical amendments.

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