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Tackling the confusion around CE marking

On the face of it, Construction Products Directive regulations on mandatory CE marking for construction products are quite straightforward.

Since 1 July 2013, all primary products for which there is a harmonised EU standard or European Technical Assessment have required a CE mark, either from the manufacturer, from the exporter (if the product is imported from outside the EU) or from any intermediary that processes the product in a way that alters its physical properties.

In the real world, however, things are not quite so simple.

New standards are developed and introduced on an ongoing basis, which means that both building products manufacturers and specifiers need to keep abreast of forthcoming changes to ensure compliance.

Already, the CE marking landscape is complex, particularly when it comes to balustrades.

The harmonised BS EN 1090-1 standard for stainless steel fabrications comes into force on 1 July 2014 but harmonised standards for stainless steel structural sections, while on the agenda, will not be finalised until some indeterminate point in the future.

Understandably, there’s some confusion amongst specifiers and manufacturers of balustrade systems about whether, or how soon, balustrades will come under the CPD CE marking requirements.

Similarly, ambiguity surrounding the CE marking requirements for stainless steel fasteners is also unclear within the marketplace.

While standard stainless steel bolts do not need to be CE marked, ‘non-pre-loaded structural bolting assemblies’ do have a harmonised standard and therefore must be CE marked. The only difference here may be the point at which the fixing is assembled, which could create potential compliance issues for the specifier.

The only solution for all of this is for suppliers to be proactive in anticipating CE marking obligations, which is why Delta Balustrades will ensure that our entire range is CE marked by 1st July.

For any ISO 9001 business that already adheres to stringent product quality and testing processes, early compliance is an onerous requirement, which is why specifiers should expect CE compliance from building products suppliers, sooner rather than later.

Garth Boyt is business development manager at Delta Balustrades

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