CE Marking ‘misunderstood’

By Sandy Guthrie31 January 2017

FIEC (the European Construction Industry Federation) is calling for CE marking to address the needs of users saying that in construction, the CE Mark was misunderstood by professional users and consumers.

Following the publication of the Clean Energy Package in November last year, the European Commission has opened talks with stakeholders about what is needed to improve the CPR (Construction Products Regulations), and FIEC has said it planned to give some ideas about how CE Marking might be improved for users.

Jan Coumans, chairman of FIEC’s sub-commission on Regulation and Standardisation, TEC-1, said, “The CE Mark is a passport for free travel. It is not a residence permit allowing installation in a building.”

He was speaking at an event in the European Parliament hosted by Catherine Stihler MEP, vice chairman of the Committee on Internal Market & Consumers (IMCO).

Coumans asked, “How can we ensure that users understand the purpose of CE Marking, which in the case of construction products is merely to indicate that a CE marked product can be placed on the market in the EU?

“More importantly for contractors, under what conditions could quality marks be used alongside the CE Mark so that users can have confidence that they are making a safe – and the best – choice of product?”

In 2016, FIEC and Construction Products Europe, the association which represents the manufacturers of construction products, published joint positions on the CPR, and Standardisation & Market Surveillance. Construction Products Europe was also due to speak at the European Parliament event to present its own ideas for improvements, which FIEC said it broadly supported.

The invitation to participate in a frank discussion in the European Parliament, with both MEPs and the European Commission, has been welcomed by FIEC’s vice president Kjetil Tonning, who is also the president of the Technical Commission.

He said, “We’ve been emphasising the difficulties experienced by users of construction products, in particular contractors, since the Regulation came into total effect in 2013, and before that when its predecessor the Construction Products Directive was in force.

“This constructive dialogue in the Parliament builds on what FIEC has achieved by collaborating with Construction Products Europe, and we welcome this opportunity to consider the concerns of all stakeholders in an attempt to find feasible solutions together.”

FIEC said that clear and unambiguous communication was needed.

As well as specific improvements to CE Marking itself, FIEC said it would strongly support a clear communication campaign, to correct any misunderstandings about what the CE Mark means.

It said a recent news bulletin on the Dutch TV channel NOS, demonstrated that CE Marking in general – not only on construction products – was not clearly understood by the public

Coumans said, “For construction products, the clearest message is required to explain once and for all that, except in the very rarest of cases – meaning almost never, in reality – contractors are not required to CE mark.

“The CPR is not aimed at them and this clarity would help us help us to explain that to our customers, some of whom have asked us recently to CE Mark custom-made constructions on site.”

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