What is the Construction Products Regulation about?
The Construction Products Regulation aims to ensure that construction products can freely circulate within the Single Market. To achieve this, the Construction Products Regulation lays down harmonised rules for putting construction products on the EU market.
The existing harmonised rules focus on how to express the performance of construction products in relation to their essential characteristics like for instance how they react to fire, how they conduct heat or insulate sound. The current legislative framework also provides harmonised rules on the CE marking of these products. This ensures that reliable information is available to professionals, public authorities and consumers, so they can compare the performance of products from different manufacturers in different countries.
Member States are responsible for the safety, environmental and energy requirements applicable to buildings and civil engineering works.
Why do we need a revision of the Construction Products Regulation?
The Construction Products Regulation needs to be revised to:
- Ensure a smooth functioning of the Single Market and free movement of construction products.
- Address the sustainability performances of construction products.
- Enable the construction ecosystem’s contribution to meeting climate and sustainability goals and embrace the digital transformation, because its competitiveness depends on this.
- Ensure that harmonised standards contribute to the competitiveness of the ecosystem and reduce market barriers.
In particular, while the current rules have guaranteed a harmonised framework for the marketing of construction products in the EU, there are still some aspects that need to be improved. This is particularly so as regards the process in place to elaborate harmonised standards for construction products. Very few harmonised EU standards have been referenced in the EU Official Journal in recent years.
The current Regulation is not fit to deliver on broader policy priorities, particularly on the European Green Deal. It is also necessary to accelerate the uptake and deployment of digital technologies.
How will the new revised Regulation contribute to improving the Single Market for construction products?
In order to achieve a well-functioning Single Market for construction products, the proposal presents a series of tools to unlock the technical harmonisation system through better standards; reduce national barriers to trade for products covered by the Regulation and improve enforcement and market surveillance. The proposal will also provide more clarity in the rules through simplification thereby reducing the administrative burden and help to ensure safe construction products.
How will the new revised Regulation improve the standardisation of construction products?
Standardisation activities for construction products are currently facing a standstill. This is the result of various factors, including outdated standardisation requests, an absence of any technical content related to sustainable use of natural resources as well as legal and technical aspects linked to the mandatory character and exhaustiveness of the standards.
In line with the EU Strategy on Standardisation, the revised Regulation foresees the possibility for the Commission to intervene in case the standards are lacking quality or are not provided in time for the market. In addition, the Commission will continue its work with Member States, industry and other relevant parties to revise the outdated standardisation requests, the acquis and to make them future proof for state of the art standards. The so-called “Construction Products Regulation Acquis Process”, launched mid-2020, is the forum where the harmonised standards, the European assessment documents and the legal acts of the Commission are being discussed and shaped, together with Member States, industry and other relevant parties.
What is the link between Construction Product Regulation and the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation?
The objective of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation is to make sustainable products the norm on the EU market and reduce their environmental impact throughout the value chain. The ‘take-make-use-dispose’ model can be avoided, and much of a product’s environmental impacts is determined at the design stage.
The initiative will have environmental benefits by reducing pollution and resource use. It will have a strategic benefit for the EU by increasing our resource independence, also in the context of the current geopolitical situation. It will strengthen the Single Market and create economic opportunities for innovation, notably in remanufacturing, recycling and repair.
Harmonised rules are needed to avoid fragmentation of the EU Single Market. The Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation therefore sets a general framework, and more fine-tuned rules will apply to respond to the specificity of products or categories of products. Following this approach, the revised Construction Products Regulationwill intervene, in addition to safety and functionality aspects, to set sustainability criteria for construction products. This also necessary because the Construction Products Regulation needs to work in coordination with the national regulatory building codes applicable to construction works.
However, specific circumstances may justify targeted intervention on construction products under the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation. This will be the case for example for intermediate products (except for cement) and energy related construction products, which are already regulated under the existing Ecodesign Directive (the case for instance for heaters, boilers, heat pumps, water and space heating appliances, fans, cooling and ventilating systems and photovoltaic products).
What will the revised CPR mean for construction products in terms of sustainability?
According to the proposed Regulation, the manufacturers will have to deliver environmental information about the life-cycle of their products. Moreover, they will have to comply with several obligations, including:
- Design and manufacture a product and their packaging in such a way that their overall environmental sustainability reaches the state of the art level;
- Give preference to recyclable materials and materials gained from recycling;
- Respect the minimum recycled content obligations and other limit values regarding aspects of environmental sustainability;
- Make available, in product databases, instructions for use and repair of the products;
- Design products in such a way that re-use, remanufacturing and recycling are facilitated.
How can a manufacturer prove that the product meets all EU requirements?
To prove that products meet the EU requirements, the manufacturer shall draw up a declaration of performance and a declaration of conformity and affix the CE marking. The manufacturer shall draw up a technical documentation describing the intended use and all the elements necessary to demonstrate performance and conformity. This technical documentation shall include the mandatory or facultative calculation of environmental sustainability assessed in accordance with harmonised technical specifications, except in case of used, remanufactured or surplus products.
How are the needs of businesses, SMEs and micro-enterprises covered in the revised Regulation?
The revised Regulation will improve the Single Market for construction products and enhance the circulation of construction products within the EU. The proposal will minimise the compliance costs, notably by a better performing standardisation process, providing clearer provisions, by incentivising the reuse of products, by less additional national requirements and by creating a level playing field for all manufacturers, especially SMEs, in all Member States. Moreover, the intended planned work sharing and the technical fine-tuning with the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation will avoid unnecessary costs for businesses, especially SMEs. The proposal makes maximum use of the potential of digitalisation to reduce administrative burden, considering that the current Construction Products Regulation does not foresee the application of digital tools. All information and documentation may, in the future, be processed in a digital form (e.g. Digital Product Passport) and stored, shared and accessed in an information system. This will lead to greater transparency along supply chains, allow data linked to the Construction Products Regulation to be stored in Building Logbooks and used for calculations required under other legislation (e.g. the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, EPBD). This will also facilitate market surveillance. Additionally, the Member States may exempt micro-enterprises not trading across the borders from certain obligations of the Construction Products Regulation.
What else is the Commission doing to support the greening and digitalisation of the construction ecosystem?
The Commission has been developing a transition pathway for the construction industry ecosystem, in a process of co-creation with industry, interested parties and Member States, as part of the updated Industrial Strategy. As part of this work, the Commission published in December 2021 a Staff Working Document that proposes scenarios for construction to become more green, digital and resilient. An enabling and regulatory framework fit for the future, that fosters investments and the building of trust is key to the ecosystem’s resilience and a prerequisite for the twin transitions.
In February 2022 the construction sector launched, with the support of the Commission, a skills partnership under the Pact for Skills. The partnership aims to upskill and reskill at least 25% of the construction industry’s workforce in the next five years, which corresponds to three million workers.
The Commission is also supporting research and innovation into green and digital construction via the Horizon Europe programme. This includes funding in areas such as waste management, digital building permits and logbooks, and a sustainable built environment under the Built4People co-programmed partnership.