Brussels, 30 October 2013
Online information about construction products to save time and money
Today the Commission took another step to simplify administration and reduce costs for businesses in the construction sector. According to the Commission’s proposal, manufacturers of construction products (e.g. bricks, insulation, doors etc.) will be able to upload digital “declarations of performance” on their websites. These documents must accompany every construction product sold, in order to give information on their essential characteristics (e.g. fire resistance, mechanical strength or energy efficiency). Once the legal act is agreed, companies selling construction products in the EU should be able to upload these certificates online for public viewing. Today, all such declarations must be individually communicated to each customer by post or email. Online availability of these declarations should enable faster communication through the supply chain, reduce producer costs and facilitate sales of construction products. The proposal, which will supplement the recently implemented Construction Products Regulation, will also make it easier for consumers to find out what performance they should expect from the product they are about to buy, thus increasing consumer confidence.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship commented: “The construction sector is an important sector of the EU economy. By further reducing administrative burden we aim to help this sector recover from the current crisis. The Commission is therefore trying to move as quickly as possible to implement this initiative.”
Declarations of performance
The market for construction products contains over 40 families of products such as doors, thermal insulating products, cement, roofing products or bricks. It is therefore both wide ranging and extremely large in scale.
Declaration of performance must be made for each construction product sold in the EU, and also distributed to all purchasers, whether they are distributors, construction companies or non-professional consumers, e.g. individuals performing amateur home improvement projects.
The declarations describe important aspects of a construction product, such as its level of fire resistance or mechanical strength. They give the manufacturer the opportunity to deliver the information about the essential characteristics of his product to the market. On the basis of this information, the user will decide to buy, amongst all the products available on the market, the one which is fit for the intended purpose.
The ability to post their declarations of performance online instead of having to send the performance declaration for each product directly to the purchaser - either physically or via email - should help reduce producers’ administrative costs.
When making a declaration of performance available online producers will need to ensure that the content of such a declaration is not altered after it has been posted online.
Declarations of performance constitute a key element in the functioning of the EU’s Internal Market for construction products by providing it with the transparency necessary for the flow of goods between EU countries.
The construction industry, including construction products, has an enormous importance for Europe’s economic well-being. It accounts for about 9.5 % of GDP and 10 % of the EU’s workforce. However it has experienced a sustained and dramatic decline since the start of the crisis.
The Construction Products Regulation (EU) 305/2011 was adopted by the Commission in 2011 and has been fully in force since 1 July 2013. It replaced the “Construction Products Directive” (89/106/EEC). The objective of the Regulation is to ensure the availability of reliable and accurate information on the performance of construction products, based on technical specifications that are harmonized across all EU countries.
The CPR provides a ‘common technical language’ that manufacturers can use to declare the performance of the products they place on the European market in terms of essential characteristics. This common language, which is based on harmonised standards, is used by all bodies involved in construction: authorities, engineers, contractors and end users.