CERAM is well placed to come to the assistance of the UK construction and manufacturing industry who are concerned about the impact that the EU Construction Products Directive (CPD) will have on their ability to compete on a level playing field in Europe.
CERAM, the internationally renowned centre for materials and technology, based in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, is equipped to carry out the necessary testing and offer technical advice and consultancy in support of the CE Mark for many construction products.
The introduction of European harmonised standards means that it will be mandatory in all countries except the UK (& Ireland, Finland and Sweden) for all manufacturers products to be CE Marked. The CE Mark means that the product conforms with the regulatory requirements of the EU Construction Products Directive (CPD) which is now part of the law in the UK.
Geoff Edgell of CERAM explains; “The CPD aims to remove barriers to trade through the standardisation of methods of test, declaration of product performance and procedures for conformity assessment. As a consequence, users and specifiers will be able to directly compare characteristics of different products from different countries and assess their suitability for use.”
Geoff Edgell warns UK companies against being complacent: “Although only voluntary in the UK, the decision not to be CE Marked will prevent the manufacturer from selling products into Europe. The CE Mark is essentially a passport to trade in Europe.”
A wide range of products must now be tested to comply with the requirements of the CPD to prove they meet the required performance specification. The tests are required legally so that they can be CE marked and sold throughout Europe.
Depending on the level of importance for safety, some products can be tested in-house by the manufacturer and some need to be tested by a third party.
In order to carry out tests in-house however, manufacturers would need to have the necessary procedures, systems, skills and equipment in place. Many manufacturers, therefore, would prefer to use an external laboratory such as CERAM who can deliver a whole range of tests for the Construction Products Directive covering; Tiles, adhesives, grouts, bricks, stone, pavers, roofing tiles, sanitaryware, clay pipes, concrete products, aerated block, joist hangars, wall ties, raised access flooring, mortars, mortar screeds and plaster.
In some cases the CE Mark demands third party certification – this can be provided by CERAM subsidiary CICS.
CERAM is an accredited UKAS laboratory and is Notified body to the European Commission.