Construction Products Regulation (EU) N° 305/11

Key concepts of the cpr

The CPR builds upon the CPD and aims to break down technical barriers to trade in construction products within the European Internal Market. To achieve this, the CPR provides for four main elements:

  • a system of harmonised technical specifications;
  • an agreed system of conformity assessment for each product family;
  • a framework of Notified Bodies;
  • CE marking of products.

The CPR harmonises the methods of assessment and test, the means of declaration of product performance and the system of conformity assessment of construction products, but NOT national building regulations concerning the incorporation of such products in the works.
The choice of required values for the particular intended use is left to the Member States. However, such required values must be expressed consistently with the technical language as used in the harmonised technical specifications.

Harmonised technical specifications

Harmonised technical specifications for a product define methods of assessing and declaring all the performance characteristics, which are already stated in the act of approval of the Mandate within the national regulations of at least one of the Member States, which affect the ability of construction products to meet seven basic requirements for construction works. These cover:

  1. Mechanical resistance and stability
  2. Safety in case of fire
  3. Hygiene, health and environment
  4. Safety and accessibility in use
  5. Protection against noise
  6. Energy economy and heat retention
  7. Sustainable use of natural resources.

The main route to a harmonised technical specification (hENs) under the CPR is for technical standards to be drawn up and published by CEN/CENELEC. However, if standards cannot be produced or foreseen within a reasonable period of time due to technical barriers or delays, or if an innovative product deviates from the scope of a hEN or needs a particular method of assessment, an ETA (European Technical Assessment) may be issued on the basis of an EAD (European Assessment Document) at the request of the Manufacturer.
The first table ZA.1 of informative Annex ZA of the harmonised standard lists the essential characteristics and relevant regulated requirements according to a mandate issued to CEN/ CENELEC by the European Commission. The table may refer to separate supporting documents such as test standards, thus becoming a checklist for CE marking from which the manufacturer can see all the mandatory requirements for his product and how they can be met through specific procedural means with a view to its circulation in the European Internal Market.
The parts of the standard which are not required to fulfil the mandate are termed the voluntary (or non-harmonised) parts and are not included in Annex ZA.1.
EADs will have a section serving the same function as Annex ZA.1 in a harmonised standard.
The real difference between a harmonised standard and an ETA is about the product’s performance. Due to its generic nature the hEN contains the request for performance, while the ETA based on an EAD is issued for a specific product and it therefore contains the performance levels referred to that product.

CE marking

CE marking enables a product to be placed legally on the European Internal Market even though this does not necessarily mean that the product will be suitable for all end uses in all Member States.
CE marking indicates that a product is consistent with its Declaration of Performance (DoP) as made by the manufacturer.
The declaration varies according to the particular harmonised technical specification covering the product. In general there are three ways in which information can be presented for each relevant characteristic:

  • confirmation of achievement of a minimum performance or threshold. This could be by satisfying a Pass/Fail criterion;
  • the actual performance (a declared value);
  • particular class of performance reached.

How CE marking is to be drawn up and affixed for a specific product is set out in the harmonised technical specifications. In particular, for hENs this is set out in Annex ZA.3 and for ETAs in a specific section in the EAD.

Declarations of performance

By making a DoP (Declaration of Performance) the manufacturer, importer or distributor is assuming legal responsibility for the conformity of the construction product with its declared performance. The information to be contained in them is detailed in Annex ZA of a hEN or in a specific section of the EAD.
Copies of DoPs must be supplied either in paper form or by electronic means which includes, pursuant to article 7.3 of the CPR, permission to make them available on a website, in compliance with the conditions laid down by the Commission by means of Delegated Acts.
Where a parameter is covered in the hEN or ETA, it is not permissible to quote any results obtained for that parameter using a different test method or different units.
Provided that the manufacturer has met the requirements of at least one essential characteristic of the product, the DoPs need not contain further values relating to characteristics for which regulations do not exist in a specific Member State. In these cases, a declaration of “No performance determined” (NPD) may be made, as provided for in the hEN.
Where applicable, the declaration of performance should be accompanied by information on the content of hazardous substances in the construction product to improve the possibilities for sustainable construction and to facilitate the development of environment-friendly products. Since for many substances, the necessary test methods have yet to be agreed, declaration should be limited to substances referred under REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), available at www.reachteam.eu‎.

Assessment and verification of constancy of performance

The system of Assessment and Verification of Constancy of Performance (AVCP) is the term applied to define the degree of involvement of third parties in assessing the conformity of the product according to the relevant technical specification.
For each product family, the system of AVCP is decided collectively by the Member States and the European Commission on the basis of the implications of the product on health and safety and on the particular nature and production process for the product itself.

To achieve this the CPR uses five main elements:

  • Factory production control (FPC) on the basis of documented, permanent and internal control of production in a factory in accordance with the relevant harmonised technical specifications;
  • Initial inspection of the manufacturing plant and of FPC;
  • Continuous surveillance, assessment and evaluation of FPC;
  • Determination of product type on the basis of type testing, type calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation of the product;
  • Audit testing of samples taken before placing the product on the market.

The five systems of AVCP and the levels of involvement of Notified Bodies in each are as follows:

System 1+ Declaration of performance of the essential characteristics of the construction product made by the manufacturer on the basis of the following elements:

  1. the manufacturer shall carry out:
    1. factory production control (FPC);
    2. further testing of samples taken at the factory by the manufacturer in accordance with the prescribed test plan;
  2. the notified product certification body shall issue the certificate of constancy of performance of the product on the basis of:
    1. determination of the product-type on the basis of type testing (including sampling), type calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation of the product;
    2. initial inspection of the manufacturing plant and of factory production control;
    3. continuous surveillance, assessment and evaluation of factory production control;
    4. audit-testing of samples taken before placing the product on the market.

System 1 Declaration of performance of the essential characteristics of the construction product made by the manufacturer on the basis of the following elements:

  1. the manufacturer shall carry out:
    1. factory production control (FPC);
    2. further testing of samples taken at the factory by the manufacturer in accordance with the prescribed test plan;
  2. the notified product certification body shall issue the certificate of constancy of performance of the product on the basis of:
    1. determination of the product-type on the basis of type testing (including sampling), type calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation of the product;
    2. initial inspection of the manufacturing plant and of factory production control;
    3. continuous surveillance, assessment and evaluation of factory production control.

System 2+ Declaration of performance of the essential characteristics of the construction product made by the manufacturer on the basis of the following elements:

  1. the manufacturer shall carry out:
    1. determination of the product-type on the basis of type testing (including sampling), type calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation of the product;
    2. factory production control (FPC);
    3. further testing of samples taken at the factory by the manufacturer in accordance with the prescribed test plan;
  2. the notified product certification body shall issue the certificate of conformity of factory production control on the basis of:
    1. initial inspection of the manufacturing plant and of factory production control;
    2. continuous surveillance, assessment and evaluation of factory production control.

System 3 Declaration of performance of the essential characteristics of the construction product made by the manufacturer on the basis of the following elements:

  1. the manufacturer shall carry out factory production control (FPC);
  2. the notified testing laboratory shall carry out the determination of the product type on the basis of type testing (based on sampling carried out by the manufacturer), type calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation of the product.

System 4 Declaration of performance of the essential characteristics of the construction product made by the manufacturer on the basis of the following elements:

  1. the manufacturer shall carry out:
    1. determination of the product type on the basis of type testing, type calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation of the product;
    2. factory production control (FPC);
  2. no tasks for the Notified Body.

Both criteria and procedures are set out in the harmonised technical specifications.
The procedures for conformity assessment for a product are set out in the relevant technical specification. For standards these appear usually in Annex ZA.2, and for ETAs in a section in the relevant EAD.
Once all the appropriate conformity assessment tasks have been carried out for the product, the manufacturer is required to complete a DoP which is kept with the technical file concerning the product and/or the certificate of constancy of performance, certificate of conformity of the FPC, type testing certificate issued by a notified laboratory depending on the system of AVCP required.

Use of CE marking

As from 1 July 2013, construction products placed on the European Internal Market falling within the scope of application of a harmonised standard (hEN) or conforming to an ETA will have to be accompanied by a Declaration of Performance in order to have the CE marking.
Drawing up a DoP and affixing the CE marking is the responsibility of the manufacturer or his authorised representative, depending on who is placing the product on the market.
A declaration of performance may not be required for construction products covered by a hEN where the product:

  • is individually manufactured or custom-made in a non-series process for a specific order, and is installed in a single identified construction work. The manufacturer is responsible for its safe incorporation under the direction of those responsible for the safe execution of the construction works under applicable national rules;
  • the product is manufactured on the construction site for incorporation in the respective works in compliance with the applicable national rules and under the direction of those responsible for the safe execution of the construction works under the applicable national rules;
  • the product is manufactured in a traditional manner, or in a manner appropriate to heritage conservation, in a non-industrial process for renovating construction works which are officially protected either as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historic merit, in compliance with the applicable national rules.

Pursuant to article 38 of the CPR, the manufacturer of construction products falling within group A may choose to affix the CE marking and the performance assessment of the applicable system of AVCP may be replaced by specific technical documentation demonstrating equivalence to the hEN. If the AVCP system is 1+ or 1, the specific technical documentation must be verified by a notified product certification body.

The CPR and innovative products

The CPR envisages three groups of product:

  1. Products not fully covered by a hEN, i.e .where a hEN exists but for at least one essential product characteristic:
  2.  Products covered by a hEN;
    1. the method of assessment is inappropriate;
    2. there is no assessment method.
  3. Products which do not fall within the scope of a hEN.

For group 1 products the Declaration of Performance and consequent CE marking are mandatory.
For group 2 and group 3 products if the manufacturer has chosen to declare performance he may use an EAD and consequent ETA issued by a relevant designated and notified Technical Assessment Body (TAB) which entitles him to affix the CE marking.

Voluntary marks

Voluntary marks are permitted provided they fulfill a different function from that of the CE marking, are not liable to cause confusion with it, nor should they reduce the CE marking’s legibility or its visibility. They should provide added value such as by covering a new characteristic not dealt with in the standard.
Voluntary marks cannot be used as a means to demonstrate compliance with basic requirements by attesting performances related to harmonised characteristics. Thus they cannot replace the CE marking whose purpose is to show that a product has been legally placed on the market under the CPR.

Manufacturers and other economic operators

Manufacturers, authorised representatives, etc. will need to be aware of published harmonised technical specifications, the progress of draft technical specifications and the CE marking mandatory date which apply to their products. Product Contact Points will be in place to help with this.
Manufacturers will need to determine, for the country of destination, the essential characteristics whose performance must be declared as required by the regulations of that country for the intended use chosen for their product.
An importer or distributor is considered a manufacturer under the CPR where they place a product on the market under their company name or trademark, or modify a construction product already placed on the market in such a way that conformity with the DoP may be affected.
Other important actions for the manufacturer include:

  • keeping the technical documentation for a period of 10 years after the construction product has been placed on the market;
  • keeping a register of all complaints about a product’s non-conformance or product recalls, and keeping distributors informed of any product recalls;
  • allowing the identification and full traceability of the product;
  • supplying instructions and safety information in the language of the Member State in which the product is being sold;
  • taking immediate corrective measures if a product is found not to be in conformity with the DoP;
  • ensuring that the product maintains its conformity with the DoP during storage and distribution;
  • providing all relevant information about a product if a request is made by a competent national authority;
  • taking immediate measures if the declared performance of the mass-produced product deteriorates.

Importer and distributor

More clearly than the CPD, the CPR adds responsibilities to importers and distributors who must assure themselves that the manufacturer has undertaken all the measures required. The importer’s or distributor’s name and contact details must appear on the product, labelling or associated documents.
Before making a construction product available on the market, distributors must ensure that the product, where required, bears the CE marking and is accompanied by the correct documentation, instructions and safety information. Distributors must also ensure that the manufacturer and the importer have complied with their requirements.
Other important actions for importers and distributors include:

  • withholding a product from the market if they believe the product is not in conformity with the DoP;
  • passing on all relevant documentation whenever they make a sale;
  • ensuring that the product maintains its conformity with the DoP after storage and distribution;
  • providing all relevant information about a product if a request is made by a competent national authority;
  • being able, for a period of 10 years, to provide the market surveillance authority with the contact details of the economic operator who supplied them with the construction product(s) and the economic operator to whom they supplied the product(s).

At least the last two bullet points shall apply to the authorised representative who shall also provide a DoP.

Cost reduction

To reduce the cost, especially to micro-enterprises of placing construction products on the market, simplified procedures have been introduced for products that are not safety critical. Providing consistency of procedures is demonstrated, as far as system 3 is concerned, micro-enterprises manufacturing products covered by a hEN may replace the determination of the product type with methods different to those in the hEN. In such case, manufacturers may also treat construction products to which system 3 applies as being in accordance with provisions for system 4.
It is also recommended to manufacturers to share their respective test results, whenever the performance equivalence of the product-type can be demonstrated and, subject to prior authorisation, the use of test results obtained by another manufacturer or by suppliers of the whole system or parts of it, where this is explicitly provided for by the applicable harmonised product standard.

Products contact points for construction

Pursuant to article 9 of Regulation (EC) No. 764/2008, in order to assist those affected by the CPR in understanding regulatory requirements in different Member States, Product Contact Points for Construction have been established in each country, as provided for in article 10 of the CPR.

Notified bodies

Notified Bodies are the product certification bodies, FPC certification bodies and testing laboratories which are considered to be competent to carry out the specific assessment tasks. Such bodies are first approved by their respective Member States and then notified to the European Commission and other Member States. They are referred to as «Notified Bodies».
Notified Bodies are required to participate in the ’Group of Notified Bodies‘ (GNB), with their European counterparts, to discuss practical implementation matters to achieve a consistent approach to the tasks. Once a harmonised technical specification is available for their product, manufacturers required to use a Notified Body will be able to approach any such body in Europe provided it has been notified for the appropriate harmonised technical specification and task, for assessment according to the appropriate conformity assessment procedure.
With respect to the function of Notified Bodies involved in the AVCP for construction products, the CPR distinguishes between:

  1. product certification body: a governmental or non-governmental Notified Body, possessing the necessary competence and responsibility to carry out a product certification in accordance with given rules of procedure and management;
  2. factory production control certification body: a Notified Body, governmental or non-governmental, possessing the necessary competence and responsibility to carry out factory production control certification in accordance to given rules of procedure and management;
  3. testing laboratory: a notified laboratory which measures, examines, tests, calibrates or otherwise determines the characteristics or performance of materials or construction products.

Notified Bodies are required to demonstrate competence covering all the third-party tasks in the AVCP process within the relevant scope for which they have been notified.

Technical assessment bodies (TABs)

These are organisations whose requirements are defined in Annex IV to the CPR and designated by their respective Member States as competent to produce EADs and to issue ETAs.
The name and address of each TAB and the product areas for which it is designated are communicated to the European Commission and other Member States.
Once an ETA has been issued for a product, where relevant the manufacturer is free to choose another body to carry out the conformity assessment procedures.
TABs issue European Technical Assessments (ETAs) in the product areas (listed in the CPR Annex IV) for which they have been designated and are competent to produce EADs in the same areas.

Further information

Lists of harmonised technical specifications, Notified Bodies and TABs can be found on the NANDO website. The lists, which are updated regularly, include details of the harmonised technical specifications and identification numbers for Notified Bodies as well as the tasks for which they have been notified for all Member States.

Transition issues

CE marking on the basis of a hEN

DoPs have to be provided for all construction products covered by a hEN after 1 July 2013 in order to obtain the CE marking. By making a DoP the manufacturer is assuming legal responsibility for the declared performance in relation to the essential characteristics defined by the applicable hENs.
In due course the Annexes ZA of all hENs published in response to a mandate issued under the CPD will be amended or revised to reflect any updated mandate issued under the CPR.
Construction products which have been placed on the market and have the CE marking affixed in accordance with the CPD before 1 July 2013 shall comply with the CPR. A manufacturer may draw up a DoP on the basis of a Certificate of Conformity, an FPC certificate or a Test Report (ITT) which have been issued before 1 July 2013.

CE marking on the basis of an ETA

Even though there is no obligation to do so, a construction product with a European Technical Assessment (ETA) issued for that specific product, can carry CE marking subject to prior submission of a DoP.
In fact, a manufacturer may choose to apply for an ETA for his product.
Guidelines for European Technical Approval (ETAGs) published before 1 July 2013 in accordance with the CPD may be used as EADs. Pursuant to the CPR, the latter documents are harmonised technical specifications. Manufacturers and importers may still use ETAs issued before 1 July 2013 throughout the period of validity while new ETAs have no expiration date.