On 24 April 2011, the new EU Construction Products Regulation came into force. It takes effect immediately, but will not impose binding obligations upon manufacturers until 1 July 2013. From an occupational safety and health perspective, the regulation is a significant improvement over the former Construction Products Directive, since for the first time, it sets out requirements for the safety of construction products at European level. A legal loophole has thus been closed.
KAN monitored development of the new Construction Products Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 305/2011) closely from the outset, and lobbied the German ministry responsible for construction, the European Parliament and the European Commission for product safety requirements to be included in it. The provisions that have now been adopted constitute a major step forward for occupational safety and health:
With the New Legislative Framework (Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 concerning accreditation and market surveillance), in force since 2010, construction products are now also subject to market surveillance. The Construction Products Regulation takes up the provisions and substantiates them.
Particular legal aspects
Like the directive preceding it, the regulation is also based upon the principle that the essential performance characteristics of the construction products should not be specified, but should be derived from the basic requirements for construction works stated in Annex I. Concrete requirements for these features are then formulated in harmonized technical specifications (such as standards). These requirements form the basis for the manufacturer’s declaration of performance and for awarding of the CE mark.
An important aspect particular to the construction sector continues to be the fact that a certain performance need be declared for a product only when relevant national provisions are to be observed at the “intended” location at which the product is to be made available on the market (Article 6 (3)e). It remains to be hoped that this arrangement will not be abused, since a contractor cannot determine from the CE mark alone to which EU Member State the original declaration applied.
Easier arrangements for manufacturers
The Construction Products Regulation brings with it a range of new provisions which are intended to simplify matters for the manufacturers of construction products:
Since the Construction Products Regulation is founded upon national provisions, it is now crucial for occupational safety and health that the individual Member States create a sustainable statutory foundation for the safety of construction products. Based upon this foundation, the European Commission can formulate concrete requirements within mandates which in turn can be implemented within standards.