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Construction companies still not getting the CE mark message

It’s been nearly a year since the CE mark was applied to commercial flues and chimneys, but very few construction companies are asking for it – even though it’s now mandatory.

On average, only one in four construction companies and architects include a request for CE-marked commercial flue and chimney systems in the specifications for new projects.

This figure is alarming when you consider that it became mandatory to use CE-marked flue components or CE-marked full commercial chimney systems on 1 July 2013.

As a UK market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of industrial flue systems, with preferred supplier relationships with the vast majority of the UK’s leading construction companies, A1 Flue Systems can stand behind this figure as an accurate industry barometer.

So why isn’t the CE mark message getting through? Here are the three reasons why we believe it isn’t being adopted as quickly as it should.

Too specialist

Although we live and breathe all things flues, we are well aware that flue systems are a minuscule element of construction projects – especially large ones such as The Shard.

Because flue systems are regarded as a niche product, architects and specifiers don’t always have a high level of awareness of all the different regulations relating to the systems.

“It’s incumbent on construction firms to go through the paperwork with a fine toothcomb and ensure it marries up with an inspection of each component”

This is a double-edged sword for construction firms, as they are therefore reliant on competent flue companies to draw their attention to the requirements of the CE mark and to build that into the specifications.

But what happens when flue firms don’t draw construction firms’ full attention to the CE mark?

Check the paperwork

It’s incumbent on construction firms to go through the paperwork with a fine toothcomb and ensure it marries up with an inspection of each component in accordance with BS EN 1856-1:2009 Section 8 Mark (8.1).

This is especially important as there have been some examples of high-profile companies falling foul of counterfeit components.

Incidentally, A1 Flue Systems is the only UK manufacturer to achieve the CE mark for a complete flue system – hence, it provides one set of paperwork.

Others have CE mark paperwork for individual components; for projects the size of The Shard, the full documentation could be as tall as the building itself.

Policing the CE mark

As yet, there is no evidence that the CE mark is being policed to ensure compliance. This, therefore, is sending out a strong ‘it’ll never happen’ signal, which fuels an attitude of apathy towards ‘toothless’ regulation.

If the governors of CE marking started to police the accreditation actively, the level of awareness would rise dramatically.

John Hamnett is a director at A1 Flue Systems

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