Construction Products

Phase 1: Does the Construction Products Directive Apply to Your Product?

As a manufacturer, you need to secure copies of the directives and judge whether they apply to your product. The European Commission does not publish a list of products to which their laws apply; they require the manufacturer to determine the applicability of directives to any given product. The purpose of the directive is to ensure that building and civil engineering works on the territory of member states are designed and executed in a way that does not endanger the safety of persons, domestic animals and property, while respecting other essential requirements of general well-being. Member states also have provisions, including requirements, relating to health, durability, energy economy, protection of the environment, aspects of economy and other important concerns of the public interest.

To view the Construction Products Directive and to see the latest list of standards for that directive, please go to the European Commission's website at www.newapproach.org and click on "Directives and Standards."

PHASE 2: CE Marking Requirements for the Construction Products Directive

Essential requirements for construction works are listed in Annex I of the directive. They include mechanical resistance and stability, safety in case of fire, hygiene/health/environment, safety in use, protection against noise, and energy economy/heat retention.

Products must be suitable for use in construction works which, wholly or in part, are appropriate for their intended use. Account must be taken of performance and in this connection products must satisfy essential requirements where the works are subject to regulations containing such requirements.

Essential requirements constitute both the general and specific criteria with which construction works must comply. Essential requirements also provide the basis for the preparation of harmonized standards at the European level for construction products. Harmonized standards (Chapter II) help create the single internal market, afford access to the market, ensure market transparency, and create conditions for a harmonized system of general rules for the construction industry.

For this directive, standards and technical approvals are referred to as ‘technical specifications’. Harmonized standards are the technical specifications adopted by the standards organizations CEN, Cenelec or both as stipulated in Article 4. Member states shall presume that the products are fit for their intended use if they (1) enable works in which they are employed to satisfy essential requirements referred to in Article 3 and (2) bear the CE marking. The CE marking indicates:

that the products comply with the relevant national standards transposing the harmonized standards,

that they comply with a European technical approval, delivered according to the procedure in Chapter III, or

that they comply with the national technical specifications referred in paragraph 3 in as much as harmonized specifications do not exist.

Each Member state shall forward to the Commission a list of names and addresses of certification bodies, inspection bodies and testing laboratories which have been designated by that Member States to carry our technical approvals, conformity certifications, inspections and tests according to this directive. These organizations shall comply with the criteria laid down in Annex IV.

For manufacturers who desire, or whose products require, third party testing, such testing is carried out by “notified bodies” or their affiliates. Notified bodies are companies which have been selected by the EU member states and “notified” to the European Commission as being competent to test and certify products under a particular directive where party testing is required. Notified bodies must be located in the EU and are the only entities allowed to give final product approval under the directives requiring the CE marking, although their affiliates outside the EU are allowed to test products and send results to the parent for approval.

The U.S. Government has not negotiated a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in the Construction Products sector.

To view the Construction Products Directive and to see the latest list of standards for that directive, please go to the European Commission's website at www.newapproach.org and click on "Directives and Standards."

This overview of the Construction Products Directive is still being developed. For additional information on this directive, please contact either of the U.S. Department of Commerce's EU specialists: Bob Straetz at 202-482-4496 or Sylvia Mohr at 011 32 2 508 2675.


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