The Construction Products Regulation lays down harmonized conditions for the marketing of construction products in the EU. It forms the basis for CE marking of construction products. CE marking is mandatory for the majority of construction products covered by a harmonized product standard or a European technical assessment.
The harmonized product standards for construction products are prepared by technical committees and working groups under the standardization body CEN on the basis of a mandate from the Commission. The participants in this work are mostly industry representatives.
In recent years, a number of fundamental questions have arisen regarding the Regulation's content, scope and interpretation, which has meant that the mandate and standardization system in connection with the regulation is currently close to coming to a standstill.
Since the implementation of the Regulation, more than half of the product standards drawn up by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) have been rejected by the Commission, as it has assessed that the product standards do not comply with the mandate or do not comply with the correct structure. As a result, CEN's development of new product standards has also stagnated. In 2013, there were 64 proposals for product standards prepared by CEN and of which 60 were approved, in 2018 only 17 product standards were developed and 9 approved.
A still larger part of the applicable product standards is based on the previous Directive for Construction Products and is therefore outdated. This means that it no longer reflects the technological and scientific development that has taken place since the standards were drawn up.
The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that CEN withdraws existing harmonized product standards when publishing new editions of the product standards, even though the new editions are not yet harmonized, which usually happens with the Commission's publication of the standard in the Official Journal of the European Union Journal of the European Union/OJ). The withdrawn standards, which have the character of harmonized product standards and which must be used as a basis for the CE marking, are therefore retained until the new editions are possibly harmonized.
The above challenges give rise to great confusion and frustration among the various actors who use the harmonized product standards. This applies to a particularly high degree for smaller or not yet well-established companies that depend on easily accessible and clear guidelines that are updated in relation to current technological developments.
In connection with the Commission's plan to revise the Construction Products Regulation, the Commission has organized a process for reviewing both mandates and existing harmonized product standards. The purpose of the review is, in collaboration with the national authorities, to clarify and determine the content of the CPR Technical Acquis, which denotes the technical set of rules on which the CPR rests, including which essential characteristics should be covered. It is the Commission's intention that initially it is the national authorities who manage and participate in this process. The industry will be involved in the process at a later stage.
With the review of the CPR Technical Acquis, the preparation of the technical basis for the regulation of building products has thus been initiated, regardless of how the regulation and the overall system are set up in the future.
The Commission has chosen to divide the products to be included in the Acquis work into 34 product families, each of which is dealt with independently in its own working group. In addition, the Commission has the option of creating up to five horizontal groups, e.g. within the theme of environmental sustainability, fire or dangerous substances.
In October 2022, work began on the first two product families for Precast Concrete and Structural Metallic. The Commission has subsequently started additional product families and a horizontal group. The additional product families are 1) Doors and Windows, 2) Reinforcing Steel, 3) Thermal Insulating and 4) Cement. It is expected that work in a product family will take around 15 months. The horizontal group deals with Environmental Sustainability and the expectation is that the work will extend over 4-5 years.
The Danish Authority of Social Services and Housing will regularly publish relevant documents that are made available to the public by the Commission.