The CPD (89/106/EEC), which was transposed into Maltese legislation by means of L.N. 270 of 2001, aims to remove technical barriers to trade in construction products between Member States in the European Economic Area (EEA). To achieve this, the CPD provides the following four main elements:
a system of harmonised technical specifications (i.e. product standards and technical approvals);
an agreed system of attestation of conformity (AoC) for each product family;
a framework of Notified Bodies;
the CE marking of construction products.
The CPD does not aim to harmonise Building Regulations across Europe. Member States are free to set their own requirements on the performance of building works, and, consequently, construction products. What the CPD harmonises are the methods of test, the methods of declaration of product performance values, and the method of conformity assessment. The choice of required values for the chosen intended uses is left to the national regulators in each Member State.
The possible intended uses for the product should be defined in the technical specification, together with appropriate reference terms, or symbols, to be used in the information accompanying the CE marking, if necessary. For products with more than one intended use the technical specification will cover all requirements of the different intended uses of the product.
For some other products, such as thermal insulation, it will not be possible to specify the intended use in anything other than general form, e.g. "for use in buildings". This is perfectly acceptable, provided that all the harmonised characteristics for all possible uses within this general category are covered.
Format and Value of CE Marking
CE marking is a ‘passport’ enabling a product to be legally placed on the market in anyMemberState. However, this does not necessarily mean that the product will be suitable for all end uses in all Member States. An example of CE marking is given in the Figure below:
As shown in the diagram above, the CE marking needs to be accompanied by the following information:
The way in which CE marking should be approached varies from product to product. For any specific product, the CE marking procedure and what shall be included is set out in the technical specifications. For standards, this is set out usually in Annex ZA.3; and for ETAGs in Chapter 8.
Responsibility for CE Marking
Affixing the CE marking is the responsibility of the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s agent (e.g. importer) or authorised representative established within the EEA.
The importer, who is any person who places a product in the European Community’s market from a country outside the community market, must ensure that he/she is able to provide the market surveillance authority with the necessary information regarding the product. The importer also assumes responsibility for the CE marking of the product if the manufacturer is not established within the community.
A distributor, who is any person in the supply chain who takes commercial action on the product after it has been placed on the market, shall act with due care in order not to place clearly non-compliant products on the Community market.
Technical Content of CE Marking
One of the most important aspects of CE marking is that it includes technical information in the form of declared values. Where a minimum value (i.e. lower threshold value) or a maximum value (i.e. upper threshold value) has been set in the standards themselves, these values are not repeated in the CE marking. Threshold values are minimum or maximum tolerable values, below or above which (respectively) there is no compliance with the technical specification (i.e. harmonised standard or ETA).
Classes of performance may be declared with the CE marking, with the ‘key or legend’ to the classes as illustrated in the standard applicable to the particular product.
The CE marking, together with the accompanying documentation, is, in effect, a harmonised technical data sheet. Together with the standard, it gives all the information needed by specifiers and regulators to judge whether the product is suitable for a particular intended use in the country in which it is sold, according to the Regulations which apply in that country.
Where no Regulations exist in a particular country or covering a particular use, a manufacturer is not required to determine and declare values for the characteristics that are not regulated. In these cases, the manufacturer may declare ‘no performance determined’ or NPD.
The CE marking is not a quality mark. It simply shows that the product addresses the regulatory requirements.
Quality marks are allowed to appear alongside the CE marking – provided they are voluntary/market driven and not required by Regulation.
The appearance or purpose of quality marks should not be capable of being confused with CE marking; and the display of quality marks should not, in any way, obscure the clear display of CE marking.
This means that national quality marks must not be introduced as they can act as a technical barrier to international trade in construction products, thereby undermining a fundamental objective of the CPD.
Declaration of Conformity
The manufacturer, or his authorised representative established in the EEA, is responsible for the attestation of conformity of a product. The manufacturer’s declaration will be on the basis of tasks carried out under his own responsibility and of tasks carried out by a notified body, if any. Where certification is required, the declaration of the manufacturer must incorporate a certificate of conformity covering those aspects that are under the responsibility of the relevant notified body.
The following information is required for the declaration of conformity:
Name and address of manufacturer or his authorised representative established in the EEA
Description of the product
Provision to which the product conforms
Particular conditions applicable to the use of the product
The certificate number
Conditions and period of validity
Name and position of signatory
Signature of signatory
Date of signature
Presentation of Documentation
All documentation, including the Declaration of Conformity and any other certificates, must be presented in Maltese or English.