June 26, 2013

Reform of the Construction Product Regulations (CPR)

The EU reform of the Construction Product Regulations will come into effect from 1 July 2013. The EU Regulations will have a direct impact on the UK market from this date, regardless of whether or not the UK is able to implement its own enabling legislation for these EU Regulations in time.   The UK’s Construction Products Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1387) are currently being reviewed by parliament.

WHY DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THESE REFORMS?

The reforms primarily affect manufacturers of construction products.  However it is important that exporters, distributors, contractors and employers who deal with construction products are also aware of the changes so that they can offload the burden of compliance to those down their supply chain. Consultants also need to advise their employer on these regulations so that they can discharge their duty to exercise reasonable skill and care.

Being able to demonstrate compliance with the Construction Products Regulations can act as a defence if prosecuted under health and safety legislation in connection with a construction product.  Compliance is also likely to assist in satisfying tender criteria and in meeting contractual obligations as to the quality of materials.

There can also be serious consequences from failure to demonstrate compliance:

  • The Regulations are enforced by local authorities and HMRC;
  • Local authorities and HMRC have the power to: demand information to assess compliance; issue a prohibition notice (to prevent trading of non-compliant goods); and to confiscate non-compliant goods.
  • Any company employing others to supply goods might take action, if it has concerns that the Regulations are not being complied with (for example by suspending or terminating existing contracts).

 

WHAT ARE THE CONSTRUCTION PRODUCTS REGULATIONS?

Construction Products Regulations affect how construction products are sold in the EU market.  They seek to regulate in a consistent way the standards that apply to construction products, with particular regard to health and safety and the protection of the environment.

They apply to “any product or kit which is produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works or parts thereof and the performance of which has an effect on the performance of construction works with respect to the basic requirements for…buildings and civil  engineering works”.

The Regulations set out the Basic Requirements that all construction products have to meet in relation to:

  • Mechanical resistance and stability;
  • Safety in case of fire;
  • Hygiene, health and the environment;
  • Safety in use;
  • Protection against noise; and
  • Energy economy and heat retention.

WHAT HAPPENS FROM 1 JULY 2013?

  • It is mandatory for manufacturers to draw up a “Declaration of Performance”  in relation to their construction products.
  • “CE marking” on construction products becomes compulsory (rather than voluntary).  Other forms of marking are prohibited.
  • The Basic Requirements that all construction products have to meet have been extended to include:
  • Health and safety performance throughout life cycle;
  • Energy efficiency during construction and dismantling, rather than only energy efficiency in use; and
  • Information on materials containing hazardous substances.

 

WHAT DOES THE SUPPLY CHAIN NEED TO DO FROM 1 JULY 2013?

“Declaration of Performance”

A product must carry with it a Declaration of Performance, confirming that the product complies with the Basic Requirements.  By making a Declaration of Performance the manufacturer is assuming legal responsibility for the conformity of the construction product with its declared performance.

A Declaration of Performance should to refer to a “Harmonised Technical Specification”. Each type of product or component has its own Harmonised Technical Specification, which can be found within the following link:

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/index.cfm?fuseaction=cpd.hs

If there is no Harmonised Technical Specification applicable to a product or component, then it is necessary to undertake certain EU recognised testing procedures to develop a bespoke specification.

“CE Marking”

All manufactured products must display a CE mark to be traded within the EU.  CE marking simply involves testing carried out by the manufacturer.

 

SO WHAT DO I NEED TO DO FROM 1 JULY 2013?

Employers/Contractors/Sub-Contractors:

  • Ensure that your supply chain is aware of the Regulations.
  • Delegate responsibility for compliance down your supply chain so that you can offload the administrative burden involved.
  • Ensure that your supply chain can demonstrate compliance so that your company can in turn show that it has adhered to the Regulations.

Consultants:

  • Ensure that your Employer and design team are aware of the Regulations.
  • Make sure that the responsibility for compliance is effectively discharged within the contract documents.

 

Please contact Richard Piper (richard.piper@gordonsllp.com) from our construction team if you have any further queries.