Construction products are essential assets of many industries, and construction industry is one of the biggest globally. Especially, in the European Union only it involves over 430.000 EU companies, with a total turnover of 800 billion euros and gross value added of 240 billion euros.
The European Union regulates the free circulation of construction products in the Single Market under the Construction Products Regulation no. 305/2011/EU (CPR), adopted on March 9, 2011. On March 30, 2022, the European Commission published a proposal to revise the CPR in order to address several shortcomings of the current legislation and to align this regulation with the European Green Deal agenda.
The environmental impact of construction industry
One of the main issues of the current CPR legislation is that it does not consistently address the concerns regarding the environmental impact of the construction industry. In fact, the construction industry is listed among the most resource-intensive industry of the economy. Therefore, reducing its environmental footprint is crucial to reach European Green Deal’s goals.
In particular, construction products made up 30% of EU’s annual waste generation, while construction and construction work represent 9.4% of European carbon footprint. Moreover, buildings are responsible for 40% of EU energy consumption and cement, whereas steel and aluminium produce 15% of European emissions.
What is the CPR and why do we need a revision of it?
As mentioned, the CPR allows the free circulation in the European common market of construction products. To do so, this legislation has set harmonised rules and standards to freely commercialize construction products in EU Member States.
The current set of harmonised rules aim to address the performance of the construction products e.g., their reactions to fire, ability to conduct heat, etc. Guaranting businesses, public authorities, and the public reliable data and information on performance of construction products coming from different countries.
In addition, the existing rules provide union-wide recognised norms on the CE marking of construction products.
In fact, only compliant construction products can obtain CE marking. Contraction products obtain CE marking after the manufacturer has provided proofs of conformity with their declared performance, and that it has been assessed according to harmonised European standard or a European Technical Assessment has been issued.
In the years of application of CPR, the need to revise the legislation arose, with the main points to consider being:
- Improve the functioning of the common market and free movement of construction products.
- Address the sustainability performance of construction products.
- Update the legislation to meeting Green Deal’s and Digital transformation’s goals.
- Make sure that harmonised standards improve competitiveness and reduce market barriers.
In addition, it is necessary to improve the process in place to elaborate new harmonised standards since the EU Official Journal recently referenced very few harmonised standards.
The main scope of the new rules to boost the functioning of the Single Market, the new rules will:
- Provide tools to unloose the technical harmonisation system thanks to improved standards.
- Reduce national barriers to trade for construction products.
- Improve surveillance and enforcement.
- Enhance simplification and clarity of the rules.
On the other hand, to increase the sustainability of construction products, the proposed Regulation will establish new obligations to:
- Design and make products and related packaging in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
- Prefer recyclable and recycled materials.
- Respect minimum recycling requirements and similar limit values.
- Make available, in product databases, instruction for use and repair of the products.
- Design products in a way that facilitates re-use, remanufacturing, and recycling.
Main changes compared to the current legislation
Compared to the current legislation, the proposal:
- Has a broader scope, which includes reused and 3-D printed construction products as well as prefabricated family houses.
- Allows the Commission to establish technical specifications if the standardisation system is not delivering as expected, and to set product requirements.
- Establishes new environmental, functional and safety product requirements for construction products.
- Provides a “harmonised zone” and mechanisms to deal with Member States “imperative regulatory needs” on health, safety or protection of the environment, including climate.
- Introduces the obligation for manufacturers to provide a declaration of conformity, on top of a declaration of performance
- Introduces the possibility to give information via electronic means.
- Defines a list of general sustainability requirements.
- Introduces simplification and exemption provisions for micro-enterprises.
- Strengthens the powers of market surveillance authorities.
- Reinforces the product contact points for construction, to better support economic operators.
- Sets up a new Commission system allowing any natural or legal person to share complaints or reports related to possible breaches.
- Is aligned with the proposed regulation on ecodesign requirements for sustainable products on climate and environmental sustainability as well as on the digital product passport.
The Commission’s proposal has been assigned to the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) with the first debate held on June 15, 2022.
It will be still necessary to wait several months before that the new Regulation will be fully approved.
However, the total repeal of all rules of the current CPR is expected by 2045.
Do you wish to know more?
Regulatory Affairs Department
European Parliament. (2022). Legislative Train Schedule. Retrieved on 22/07/2022 from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/legislative-train/theme-a-european-green-deal/file-revision-of-the-construction-products-regulation
European Commission. (2022). Review of the Construction Products Regulation.Retrieved on 22/07/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/construction/construction-products-regulation-cpr/review_en
European Commission. (2022). Revised Construction Products Regulation – factsheet.Retrieved on 22/07/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/49314
European Commission. (2022). New Construction Products Regulation. Retrieved on 22/07/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/50640
European Commission. (2022). Questions & Answers: Revision of the Construction Products Regulation. Retrieved on 22/07/2022 from https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_22_2121
European Parliament. (2022). Construction Products Regulation. Revision of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011.Retrieved on 22/07/2022 from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/694245/EPRS_BRI(2022)694245_EN.pdf