Gas appliances are regulated by the Appliances Burning Gaseous Fuels Regulations S.L. 427.97 which transposes the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/426. The legal framework established by these regulations aims to provide access to the European market for appliances and fittings in so far as the gas safety of these products is concerned. It establishes essential requirements that an appliance or a fitting must meet when is placed on the European market. It does not indicate how these requirements must be met, thus leaving flexibility to manufacturers as regards technical solutions to be adopted.
The scope of these regulations is limited to gas appliances used for cooking, heating, hot water production, refrigeration, lighting and washing. Regulating, controlling and safety devices and sub-assemblies thereof intended to be incorporated into appliances or assembled to constitute appliances (fittings) are also covered. Appliances specifically designed for use in industrial processes carried out on industrial premises, for use on aircraft and railways as well as for research purposes for temporary use in laboratories are excluded.
Obligations of Economic Operators
The regulations define specific requirements for all economic operators which are involved with the placing on the market of gas appliances and fittings, namely manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors. All the parts have an important role in making sure that the product is safe for use as described below.
The obligations of manufacturers are as follows: ensure that appliances and fittings are designed and manufactured in accordance with the essential requirements set out in the regulations; ensure that appliances and fittings are supplied with all the necessary technical documentation and that the relevant conformity assessment procedure is carried out; ensure that appliances and fittings has the EU declaration of conformity drawn up and the CE marking affixed; retain the technical documentation and the EU declaration of conformity for 10 years after the appliance and fitting has been placed on the market; label their appliance and fitting with the type, batch or serial number or other element allowing their identification, indicate on the appliance and fitting their name, registered trade name/mark and the postal address at which they can be contacted; provide the instructions and safety information in at lease the Maltese and English language.
An authorised representative is appointed with a written mandate by the manufacturer which includes a list of tasks to be carried out namely to keep the EU declaration of conformity together with the technical documentation for a period of 10 years after the appliance or fitting has been placed on the market and to cooperate with the Technical Regulations Division as required.
The obligations of importers are clearly defined in the regulations and to a large extent they are similar to those of the manufacturer. The importer must ensure that the manufacturer has correctly fulfilled his obligations. The importer is not a simple re-seller of appliances and fittings but has a key role to play in guaranteeing the compliance of the imported products.
The obligations of the distributors are namely to: have a clear indication of a appliances and fittings being non-compliant; ensure that appliances and fittings bear the CE marking it is accompanied by a copy of the EU declaration of conformity containing instructions for incorporation or assembly, adjustment, operation and maintenance.
Conformity of appliances and fittings with the Regulations
Appliances and fittings which are in conformity with harmonized standards, the reference numbers of which have been published in the Official Journal of the EU, are presumed to be in conformity with the essential requirements of the regulations. Manufacturers or other economic operators are free to choose other technical solutions to demonstrate compliance with the mandatory legal requirements, however the use of harmonized standards is commonly the preferred option.
Conformity assessment procedures
These conformity assessment procedures are defined in the schedule of the regulations and are applied for appliances and fittings whereby the manufacturer or his authorised representative ensures and declares compliance with the regulations before it is placed on the market. A notified body is involved in the process which provide their professional and independent judgements to the manufactures or their authorised representatives to presume conformity with the regulations. The list of the notified bodies notified according to these regulations can be searched on the NANDO website. Once the appropriate procedure has been carried out, the manufacturer or his authorised representative are responsible to affix the CE marking and to provide a written EU declaration of conformity with their appliance or fitting.
EU Declaration of Conformity
The EU declaration of conformity is a legal document drawn up by the manufacturer or his authorised representative declaring that the appliance or fitting fulfils the requirements of the regulations. The EU declaration of conformity contains namely, the identification of the appliance or fitting allowing its traceability, reference to relevant harmonised standards, the name and the identification number of the notified body, and the number of the certificate issued. In the case of fittings, the EU declaration of conformity must contain instructions on how the fitting should be incorporated into an appliance. Annex V to the regulations contains the model structure of EU declaration of conformity.
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