CPR and CE Marking
Are you ready for 1 July 2013?
In just under two months’ time the Construction Products Regulation and CE marking will be fully implemented. In the following article John Bradshaw-Bullock, technical adviser to the Mineral Products Association’s Aggregates, Slag and Asphalt product groups, outlines the key changes and their implications for the aggregates industry.
The aggregates industry – which includes suppliers of the full range of coarse and fine crushed aggregates, naturally occurring land- and sea-won sands and gravels, along with secondary aggregates including slags and incinerator bottom ash aggregate – has been working with the family of European aggregate standards for more than nine years following their introduction in 2004. These standards were drafted under the Construction Products Directive (CPD) which was implemented in 1989, its fundamental principle being to create a level playing field for construction products and to eliminate barriers to trade across the now 27 EU member states. For the majority of member states CE marking has been mandatory since the introduction of the aggregate standards. However, the UK, along with three other member states, opted out of mandatory CE marking of construction products under the CPD. Recognizing that the application of CE marking was the natural extension of all the effort required to implement Type Testing and Factory Production Control (FPC) required by the European Standards, the UK volunteered to apply CE marking to aggregates (and asphalts) immediately from the implementation of the harmonized European Standards (hENs) in 2004.
It is important to note that CE marking can only be applied to a construction product which is placed on the market either in conformity with the requirements of a harmonized European Standard (hEN) or when the product has a European Technical Assessment (ETA) document. A hEN contains an Annex ZA which defines the Essential Requirements for the particular products covered by the standard and the conditions applicable to CE marking the product. An ETA is an alternative and voluntary method of CE marking which can be applied when a product is not covered by a hEN. The details for an ETA are set out in the European Assessment Document (EAD). However, in this article reference will be made to aggregates supplied in conformity with both hENs and ‘non-harmonized’ European Standards for the reason which is made clear later in the article.
The CPD, being a Directive rather than a Regulation, allows a degree of national interpretation of its requirements. Therefore, to strengthen these requirements, eliminating, the opportunity for member state interpretation, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) was enacted on 24 April 2011. At this time not all the requirements of the CPR were implemented as it was recognized that there needed to be a transitional period to allow this to take place, and so the deadline for complete implementation of the CPR was set as 1 July 2013.
Terminology and emphasis changes
The most important changes moving from CPD to CPR is that all construction products manufactured and supplied in conformity with a hEN require both a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and CE marking information to be supplied by the manufacturer to allow them to be legally placed on the market. A further significant change is that while under CPD the manufacturer currently has to supply a Declaration of Conformity (DoC), the transfer to CPR has, importantly, changed the emphasis from certifying product ‘conformity’ to certifying product ‘performance’ in respect to the seven Basic Requirements for Construction Works (BRCW), as detailed in the CPR.
The important changes to the terminology used under CPR compared with CPD are summarized in table 1.
What does the CPR require of the aggregate producer?
For all products produced and supplied in conformity with a hEN, the producer/supplier making an aggregate available on the market has a legal responsibility to draft and provide Declarations of Performance (DoP) and to affix or provide CE marking information for these products as from 1 July 2013. If a product is supplied in conformity with a hEN but has no DoP and, therefore, is not CE marked, it cannot be legally placed on the market.
The family of hENs for aggregates have now completed their required five-year amendment process and it is anticipated that they should be published early in the third quarter of 2013. However, due to the timing of the CEN amendment process, the new versions of the hENs will still refer to CPD in their Annex ZAs and not to CPR. These standards will then be subject to further amendment to change their Annex ZAs to refer to and be compliant with the CPR.
The most fundamental and important issue for aggregate producers to consider is that if a product already has a Declaration of Conformity and CE marking under CPD, both of which have been formally issued ahead of 1 July 2013, the transition to CPR is very straightforward. This is achieved by changing the designation of the DoC to a Declaration of Performance and making a couple of other changes to the documentation. The CE marking information is totally transferable in the format defined within the current versions of the standards. However, if neither the DoC nor the CE marking information has been issued ahead of 1 July 2013, the format of the new DoP has to follow the template provided by the Construction Sector Standardisation Guidance Document TF N 530 Rev.2 April 2012 ‘Implementation of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) in harmonized standards – Template for Annex ZA’. The format provided by the template is discretely different to that currently used and will require more changes to be applied compared with the DoC as exampled in the current standards.
Another important requirement of the CPR is that CE marking has to be either affixed to the product or, as stated in CPR Article 9, ‘….it shall be affixed to the packaging or to the accompanying documents’. However, while the CPR does permit electronic issue of the DoP, it currently does not detail the specific requirements and rules for their issue by electronic means. Conversely, however, the CPR currently does not permit electronic issue of CE marking information. When the European Standards for Aggregates were implemented in 2004, the industry met with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) – the Government office at that time responsible for CPD and the predecessor of the current Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which is the policy lead on CPR in the UK – and obtained an agreement that the industry could make both CE marking and DoCs available electronically via company websites. This was in full recognition of the benefits in using this method of issue. If the CE marking were to be attached to the delivery documentation, the outcomes would be:
- generation of a considerable amount of additional paper – estimated to be in the order of 34,000kg of paper from about 7 million CE marking information sheets supplied per year;
- CE marking information not necessarily being made available to those that require it when they require it;
- additional paper being generated would be contrary to industry objectives of implementing paperless Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPD); and
- the inability of some older weighbridge printers to print the CE symbol in the legally required format.
Recognizing these issues, the Mineral Products Association (MPA) sent a letter to the Construction Products Association (CPA), copied to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) explaining these points and robustly advising ‘that the industry has no alternative pragmatic solution other than to continue to apply CPD current best practice, by providing Declarations of Performance and CE marking via company websites’.
The only way that electronic issue of CE marking information via company websites can be legitimized under the CPR is for the European Commission to draft a Delegated Act to change the current requirements of the CPR. However, this would not be enacted until well after 1 July 2013 and would be more likely to be during 2014. In the interim period the UK intends to continue the current best practice and make available both CE marking information (and DoPs) electronically using the medium of company websites. It should be noted, however, that a batch of the same product supplied to a single user can be covered by a single DoP and that a paper copy of the DoP should be supplied if the recipient of the product requests it. Similarly, a paper copy of a particular CE marking information sheet should be supplied if specifically requested.
Regulated Dangerous Substances (RDS)
Number 3 of the Basic Requirements for Construction Works (BRCW), ‘Hygiene, health and the environment’, found in Annex i of the CPR, includes the requirement to evaluate the release of dangerous substances from construction products into ground, marine, surface and drinking waters. The test methods to determine the leaching potential of products are still being finalized and, therefore, until these are completed and products are classified, RDS requirements under the CPR cannot be declared. Until the work is completed, which will probably be in 2014 at the very earliest, only substances referred to in the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) for the products will be covered by the DoP.
Environmental Performance Declaration (EPD)
An additional requirement under the BRCW which is not currently covered under CPD is the new number 7 ‘Sustainable use of natural resources’. The format and content of EPDs are currently being considered by industry and the standards committees, and it is unlikely that industry will be in a position to provide EPDs before 2015 at the earliest.
What should aggregates producers and suppliers of construction products be doing now?
If aggregate is supplied in conformity with a hEN and if DoCs and CE marking information sheets have not already been drafted and issued to cover the applicable aggregate, these need to be drafted and issued ahead of 1 July 2013. The transitional arrangements under CPR allow minimum changes to be made to the currently issued DoC to change it to a DoP for use after 1 July 2013. Also, if CE marking is in place ahead of 1 July 2013, this can continue after July in its current format until the CE marking information sheet is renewed. For the majority of bulk- supplied crushed/screened construction aggregates, excepting those with a PSV of 58 or higher, the Attestation of Conformity (AoC) system that applies is System 4, which permits self-assessment and self-certification of DoCs and CE marking, and this does not change with the introduction of the CPR. If the current AoC systems for the production and supply of aggregates, as stated in the Annex ZA, require the involvement of a Notified Body, eg aggregates with a PSV of 58 or higher, and have not already been assessed and certified, assessment of the Factory Production Control (FPC) system needs to be arranged with a notified body to allow the transitional arrangements covered within the CPR to be applied. Where a Notified Body is required to assess and certify the producers FPC, no DoC or CE marking information can be issued until the Notified Body’s certification number is available to be placed on these documents. The detail of the transitional provisions can be found in Article 66 of the CPR.
What else is happening?
The Mineral Products Association has been and continues to be very active in this area informing its members of the importance of the CPR and CE marking, and clients, including the Highways Agency and ADEPT members, are currently redrafting their specification documents to accommodate the transfer to CPR from 1 July 2013. Liaison between industry, the DCLG, Construction Products Association (CPA) and Trading Standards, who are the enforcement body for CPR in the UK, will continue to ensure as smooth a transition as is possible. At the time of writing, the CPA is in the process of finalizing what is called a Primary Authority Agreement with a County Council Trading Standards Department. This agreement will detail the methodology to be applied within the UK to facilitate the continued provision of CE marking information sheets (and DoPs) via company websites. The Trading Standards Department will then be the focus for any issues raised by the recipients of construction products who have concerns over the lack of CE marking information accompanying products for which CE marking will be made available electronically. Further important developments in this area will be notified through the Mineral Products Association and the Agg-Net website.
Supply of unbound aggregate mixtures after 1 July 2013
BSEN 13285 ‘Unbound Mixtures’, the European Standard which covers mixtures that include granular sub-bases and granular fill materials, is currently not a hEN and does not contain an Annex ZA, and therefore these products do not require a DoP and, thus, cannot be CE marked. The obligation of the supplier of an unbound mixture conforming to BSEN 13285 is to operate a system of Factory Production Control, as described in Annex D of the standard, and to conform to the requirements of BSEN 13285 with respect to the designated mixture. This will include the particle size distribution and minimum and maximum fines content, and, if applicable, any additional properties that have been legitimately specified for the mixture and imposed by a national specification, eg frost heave and plasticity as required by the Specification for Highway Works Clause 803, Type 1 sub-base.
The requirements of BSEN 13242 ‘Aggregates for Unbound and Hydraulically Bound Materials’ will be applied, when appropriate, to aggregates used in the mixture. BSEN 13242 is a hEN, and therefore if the constituent aggregates are actually placed on the market and then used to produce an unbound mixture, they must be covered by a DoP and CE marking. However, as the mixture itself cannot be CE marked, and there is no requirement for the aggregate CE marking information according to the requirements of BSEN 13242 to accompany the unbound mixture when supplied, the information required by BSEN 13242 could be supplied on an information sheet along with the mixture data required by BSEN 13285, which has been industry best practice for many years.
A briefing note covering the various supply scenarios of unbound mixtures, including, for example, situations where recycled aggregates are used, will be issued by the MPA to its members and made available on the MPA website.
Additional information can be obtained from the following website locations:
‘Frequently Asked Questions on the Construction Products Regulation and CE marking’: http://www.mineralproducts.org/iss_policy01.htm
‘Acronym Alley’ – listing of industry acronyms: http://www.mineralproducts.org/news_publications01.htm
‘Construction Products Regulation’ – the official version of the regulation as published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU): http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/construction/legislation/index_en...
Construction Products Association Guidance Note on the Construction Products Regulation: http://www.constructionproducts.org.uk/ publications/industry-affairs/display/view/construction-products-regulation/
TF N 530 Rev.2 Apr 12 ‘Implementation of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) in harmonized standards – Template for Annex ZA’: https://www.cen.eu/cen/Sectors/Sectors/Construction/Guidance/Pages/defau...
TF N 548 Rev.1 Mar 12 ‘How to draft clauses on Assessment and Verification of the Constancy of Performance (AVCP) in harmonized standards for construction products’: https://www.cen.eu/cen/Sectors/Sectors/Construction/Guidance/Pages/defau...