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The EU Construction Products Regulation CPR made simple

Estimated time to read: 5 minutes

26.02.2024

What is the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) really about?

First introduced in 2011, The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has been instrumental since its enactment in 2013 in ensuring the quality, safety, and dependability of construction products available within the EU market. This regulation mandates that construction products adhere to specific criteria concerning health, safety, and performance attributes. It encompasses a broad spectrum of construction materials utilized in both residential and commercial projects, ranging from cement and steel to glass, insulation materials, doors, windows, and roofing products. Essentially, any construction product entering the EU market must meet predefined standards aimed at fostering a more unified, secure, and sustainable construction industry within the EU’s integrated market framework.

However, amid an escalating environmental consciousness and the ambitious target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 outlined in the EU Green Deal, there has been a call for updated guidelines governing construction products. As part of the efforts to advance the EU’s digital and sustainable transition, EU policymakers reached a political consensus on December 13th to revise and modernize the existing CPR legislation.

Navigating through the expected 2024 revisions

The revision aims to address some of the deficiencies observed in the previous legislation, with a primary goal of establishing a singular market for construction products in Europe, ultimately promoting efficient and sustainable construction practices. Key areas of focus in the revision include:

1: Enhanced Emphasis on Standardization:

Ensuring a unified EU regulatory standard with precise definitions of product categorizations to eliminate impediments to free movement. Presently, the absence of updated harmonized standards within the CPR framework creates significant trade barriers, imposes additional costs, and amplifies administrative burdens. Variances in the quality and efficacy of market surveillance activities across Member States have undermined trust in the regulatory framework and deterred compliance. Consequently, Member States resort to employing national marks, certifications, and approvals, contravening the CPR and European Court of Justice jurisprudence. The new regulation aims to tackle these challenges through intensified standardization efforts and delineation of principles and conditions.

2. Promotion of Sustainability:

By ensuring that construction products exhibit prolonged lifespan, are easily repairable, and can be recycled at the end of their utility. The proposal mandates environmental obligations for manufacturers, including mandatory declaration of sustainability characteristics and design considerations for environmental sustainability and durability. This aligns with the revision of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, as well as pressure from companies that have intensified for more ambitious environmental provisions within current regulations. Currently, construction products account for a significant portion of the EU market’s energy consumption and carbon emissions, with an average carbon footprint of 250 million tonnes annually.

3. Digitalization of the Construction Sector:

Implementation of a construction products database with sustainability criteria necessitates manufacturers to furnish environmental information about their products’ lifecycle and comply with additional obligations such as technical documentation. Furthermore, manufacturers will be required to provide electronic copies of the declaration of performance and declaration of conformity for each product introduced to the market. These declarations must be presented in a universally readable, unalterable electronic format or via a permalink meeting equivalent criteria (Art. 15).

What can we expect going forward?

Moving forward, the finalized text of the revised regulations is pending formal approval and endorsement from Parliament’s plenary session and the Council, expected to take place in March 2024, although specific dates are yet to be determined. Upon approval, it will be officially published in the Official Journal, thereby establishing it as a legally binding directive applicable across all member states.

A crucial aspect of this regulatory evolution is the anticipated heightened emphasis on harmonized reporting. By 2030, manufacturers will be mandated to furnish a comprehensive range of environmental impact data as outlined within Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), aligning with EN 15804 standards. This requirement not only signifies a commitment to environmental sustainability but also sets a precedent for transparency and accountability in the construction sector.

In a recent press release, rapporteur Christian Doleschal underscored the transformative potential of these new rules, stating, “This comprehensive set of new rules will ensure that construction product standards are published promptly, enabling manufacturers to swiftly introduce their innovative products to the European market. Additionally, all product information, including environmentally relevant properties, will be consolidated in one accessible platform, thereby promoting sustainability in the construction sector.”

As these regulatory changes take shape, stakeholders can anticipate a paradigm shift towards enhanced transparency, clearer guidelines, improved reporting mechanisms, and increased focus on digitalization initiatives. This concerted effort not only aligns with the EU’s broader sustainability objectives but also lays the foundation for a more resilient and environmentally conscious construction sector.

For further insights into Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), additional information can be explored here.

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