CE marking is a ‘minefield’ for construction industry

The UK’s construction industry and its supply base is walking a tightrope over CE markings for construction products, according to one of the industry’s leading suppliers.

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.

New CE markings legislation has been in place for more than nine months but many construction companies using heavy construction materials, and those supplying the building products sector, remain confused over CE markings on key products.

Stuart Allerton, Quality Systems Manager at Tarmac Building Products, comments: “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 July 1st 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 continues: “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 July 1st 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 continues: “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.”