Making your mark
With the introduction of mandatory CE marking, covering all construction products in the UK, what effect is this set to have on the industry and what does it mean for specifiers and installers? Abloy UK reviews the impact of CE marking on essential hardware and what specifiers need to be aware of.
Under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), from 1st July 2013 it has become a legal requirement for UK manufacturers of construction products to apply CE marking to any of their products, which are covered by harmonised European Norms (hEN).
Since 1993, the CE mark has been a key indicator of a product's compliance with EU legislation and enables the free movement of them within the European market, almost like a passport.
This mandatory requirement covers all products that are deemed to be essential hardware, which are intended for use on fire, smoke and escape route doors. This includes all escape route products to EN179 for emergency and EN1125 for panic as well as electric locking / door hardware for use on fire doors.
If the product is supplied and installed, such as in the case of doors, it is the responsibility of all those involved in the process to ensure compliance with building regulations. Approved Document 7 of the Building Regulations defines these persons as ‘Agent, Designer, Builder and Installer’ and also further defines that the Building Owner also may have responsibility for ensuring compliance.
The hEN’s provide important information on the performance criteria of a product including; testing, assessment and sampling methods, and further details the minimum performance criteria required to achieve CE marking and how the product is labeled.
Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations requires details of all the fire safety design measures incorporated in the building works to be provided in appropriate detail and with sufficient accuracy to the responsible person to allow them to operate and maintain the building in reasonable safety.
It is the contractors’ legal responsibility to gather this information from the manufacturer and ensure it is provided to the responsible person.
A mandatory requirement of CE compliance is for the manufacturer to prepare a document called a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and to supply it to the customer. These are important legal documents and must be available for people to view at any point in the supply chain, and all of the DoPs for Abloy UK products are available to view on its website.
The DoP must be retained by the manufacturer for a period of 10 years after the construction product is placed on the market, however a CE mark cannot be affixed if a DoP has not been drawn up.
A DoP is required for every product supplied for use on fire rated or escape doors, it doesn't have to be provided with the product but must be available upon request.
What does the CE mark mean?
One thing to be aware of is that a CE mark is not a quality mark. It purely defines that a product has met a minimum benchmark of performance criteria to deem it safe in use and safe in application.
It implies that the minimum performance requirements have been met to enable the product to be sold and gives the confidence that the product is tested and is regularly audited to be fit for purpose.
As the CE mark is a label of conformance it provides the specifier and the main contractor with the confidence that the product conforms to the correct standards. When a CE marked product is supplied and installed this shows that the product is ‘fit for purpose’ and that the supplier has used ‘due diligence’ in selecting appropriate and ‘state of the art’ solutions.
The CE mark gives a large measure of protection from prosecutions brought under health and safety legislation. If a product is doing what it is supposed to do under its CE mark, then this is a strong defence in any action brought against the supplier and/or manufacturer with regard to that performance.
Here at Abloy UK we’re keen to make things as easy as possible for the specifier and contractors. All of the DoPs for our products are available on the Abloy UK website and we have a team of specialists on hand to answer any questions or queries there may be surrounding CE marking and compliance.
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With the introduction of mandatory CE marking, covering all construction products in the UK, what effect is this set to have on the industry and what does it mean for specifiers and installers?