The GGF Technical department contributes to the development of National, European and International Standards to the benefit of GGF Members and the industry as a whole.
GGF Technical officers represent the views of the GGF Membership to standardisation bodies at National, European and International levels. These include:
- British Standards Institution (BSI)
- The European Committee for Standardization (CEN, French: Comité Européen de Normalisation)
- International Organisation for Standardization (ISO)
The GGF holds a comprehensive library of British, European and International Standards, monitors changes to standards, and keeps GGF Members and the industry informed of any significant developments.
Technical standards of the glass, glazing and fenestration industries could be affected if they are aligned to EU legislation, in particular, the Construction Products Regulation (2103) and related hENs (harmonised European Norms/standards).
Harmonised European Standards
Harmonised European standards provide a technical basis to assess the performance of construction products. They enable manufacturers to draw up the Declaration of Performance as defined in the Construction Products Regulation and affix the CE marking.
What are harmonised standards for:
Harmonised European standards create a common technical language used by all actors in the construction sector to:
- define requirements (regulatory authorities in EU countries);
- declare the product’s performance (manufacturers);
- verify compliance with requirements and demands (design engineers, contractors).
Supporting testing standards relevant to construction products cover:
- resistance to fire, reaction to fire, external fire performance, noise absorption;
- construction products in contact with drinking water;
- release of dangerous substances into indoor air, soil and (ground)water;
Meeting the Standards
When placing construction products on the European market, European Standards which have been ‘harmonised’ (hEN) following a request, known as a mandate, from the European Commission, must be used by manufacturers, importers or distributors (known collectively as ‘economic operators’), to ensure the performance characteristics declared are established using standard Type Testing and in some cases such as Resistance to fire, have independent, third party product certification, carried out by Notified Bodies established under the Construction Products Regulations (CPR). Notified Bodies (NBs) are accredited by a National Accreditation Body (NAB), in the case of the UK this is UKAS. The use of NBs in determining the performance of the products Essential Characteristics (ECs) ensure that these ECs are declared using the same test standards. The accreditation of the Notified Body by an NAB should ensure that testing is carried out by a test houses and certification carried out by product certification bodies are to the same hEN and the requirements of those hENs are interpreted in the same way.
The CPR requires all construction products within the scope of a hEN, must have a Declaration of Performance created by the economic operator and the product must be CE marked.
The development of hENs was the result of the EU’s Construction Product Directive which changed to the Construction Products Regulations in 2011, implemented in the UK on 1 July 2013.
As previously stated, the Standards landscape may be confusing due to the use of standards developed by different organisation, this can be demonstrated by the following examples:
- hENs, such as EN 1279-5, ‘Glass in buildings – Insulating glass units – Product Standard’, use a complete series of test standards and an associated factory production control (FPC) standard published as part of a European Standards series (EN 1279 parts 1 -4 and part 6). These test and FPC standards are not ‘harmonised’ but have been produced by the same European Working Party as the hEN and compliance with these parts of the series are required by the hEN, EN 1279-5, to enable a DoP to be produced and the product to be CE marked.
- Not all hENs use European supporting standards but use standards developed by another standard setting agency. An example of this is EN 14449, ‘Glass in Building. Laminated glass and laminated safety glass’. EN 14449 is a hEN to enable the product to be placed on the European market in compliance with the Construction Products Regulations but uses test standards developed by ISO. In the case of EN 14449 these test standards are the ISO 12543 series.
- Where, during the development a hEN, it has been identified that product specifications differed substantially between Member States, the hEN is a method to enable the economic operator to declare performance characteristics in accordance with the CPR, detailing the test standards to be used to determine the performance of the ECs but the specification of the product uses National Standards. This is the case with EN 14351-1, ‘Windows and doors. Product standard, performance characteristics’. In the UK when considering the specification of Windows and Doors, manufacturers revert to the material specific National Standards such as BS 644 for Timber or BS 7412 for PVC-U, etc.
It is important that manufacturers of construction products understand the relationship between hENs and their supporting standards to enable them to comply with the requirements of the CPR and place construction products on the market in compliance with the CPR.
The effect of the UK leaving the EU WITH a ‘Withdrawal Agreement’
If the UK leave the EU with the WA negotiated between the Government and EU-27 on 19 October 2019, there will be no change to the status of the Construction Products Regulations in the UK or the status of European Standards during the transition/implementation period. In particular, hENs will remain as the method of determining and declaring the performance of the Essential Characteristics (ECs) which manufacturers of construction products declare in the products Declaration of Performance (DoP) and CE label. New or revised hENs and other European Standards will be published in the UK by BSI during the transition/implementation period and will be effective during this period.
This situation will remain during the transition/ implementation period that is due to end in December 2020 unless it has been extended by up to 2 years following a request by the UK to extend it is made by July 2020.
The status of UK Notified Bodies will remain in force during the period of transition/implementation based on Article 43 and Article 46 of the WA and therefore existing Certificates of Constancy of Performance, as required for Attestation and Verification of Constancy of Performance (AVCP) System 1 Essential Characteristics, will remain valid for that period.
Existing Type Testing carried out by a UK Notified Body will also remain valid for the duration of the transition/implementation period. It is expected that any Type Testing carried out before the end of the transition/implementation period by a UK Notified Body, will remain valid for compliance to the Construction Products Regulations in the UK and the European market after the end of the transition/implementation period.
If changes are made to the product and those changes affects the performance of an Essential Characteristic, new Type Test evidence will be required. New Type Testing after the end of the transition/implementation period will need to be carried out by an appropriate body as defined in the trade agreement between the UK and EU-27.
During the transition/implementation period, trade negotiations will take place between the UK and EU-27 with the intention of developing a comprehensive trade agreement that will become effective at the end of the transition/implementation period. This Trade Agreement will provide details of any change in status of the CPR, UK Notified Bodies and European product standards.
The effect of the UK leaving the EU WITHOUT a ‘Withdrawal Agreement’
In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a WA, the following changes will take place:
- All European hENs will become Designated Standards in the UK and will be identified as BS EN XXXX standards on the date the UK leaves the EU.
- These Designated Standards will be the current published version available on the date of the UK leaving the EU and therefore at the time of the UK leaving the EU without a WA, UK Designated Standards and European hENs will be aligned.
- New European Standards or revisions to existing European Standards will not be published or become effective in the UK unless the Secretary of State decides that they are in the interests of UK Industry and Consumers.
- Should the Secretary of State determine that in the interests of the UK, European Standards, including hENs, should be developed or changed for use in the UK, BSI will be instructed to develop new or review existing Standards applicable in the UK. This may result in divergence between UK and European standards.
- BSI will continue to be a members of CEN after the UK leaves the EU and represent the UK when developing new Standards or revisions to existing Standards.
The Construction Products Regulations (CPR)
- The CPR was integrated into UK law on 1 July 2013 by Statutory Instrument 2013 No. 1387.
- The CPR required all Construction Products which are within the scope of a harmonised European Standard to have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and be CE marked when they are placed on the European Market.
- On leaving the EU without a WA, the UK is no longer subject to the requirements of the European CPR.
- The UK Government laid a Statutory Instrument
(SI), 2019 No. 465 titled ‘Exiting the European Union, Building and Buildings,
Construction, Market Standards, ‘The Construction Products (Amendment etc.) (EU
Exit) Regulations 2019’ before Parliament on 5th March 2019.
- This SI will only become effective if the UK leaves the EU without a WA.
- The SI changes references in the CPR from EU references to UK references.
- The effect of the SI is that the production of a DOP and conformity marking of the construction product remains a requirement in the UK.
- UK Test and Certification bodies known as
Notified Bodies under the current EU CPR will no longer be Notified Bodies and
will become Approved Bodies in the UK on the day after the UK leaves the EU
without a WA.
- UK Approved Bodies will be able to provide testing and product certification required by the revised UK CPR, they will not be recognised by the EU under the CPR operating in the EU-27.
- This situation may be changed by any post Brexit trading agreement between the UK and EU-27.
- The UK will introduce a UK based ‘United Kingdom
Conformity Assessment’ (UKCA) mark following the UK leaving the EU without a WA.
- If product testing or product certification is undertaken by a UK Approved Body after the UK leaving the EU without a WA, the economic operator must affix a UKCA mark to the product.
- The UKCA mark will only be accepted in the UK, it will not be recognised in the EU unless provision is made for it to be recognised in any future Trade Agreement between the UK and EU.
- Rules around affixing the new UKCA marking will remain the same as current CE marking.
- The legal basis for the UKCA mark will be that shown in SI 2019 No. 465 as detailed in clause 4 above.
Existing product DoPs and CE marking if the UK leaves the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement
- Existing DoPs and CE marking for AVCP System 3
& 4 Essential Characteristics
- DoPs and CE marking based on test evidence from
UK Notified Bodies prior to the UK leaving the EU without a WA, will continue
to be accepted in the UK for a time limited period.
- There is no immediate requirement for UK manufacturers to change their DoPs and CE marking to the ‘new’ UKCA mark during the time limited period.
- At the end of the time limited period, all products placed on the UK market will need to be transferred to the UKCA mark.
- Current DoPs and CE marks based on Notified Body test evidence and product certification may be transferred to UKCA mark without further testing.
- Where UK construction products are marketed in the EU-27 following the UK leaving the EU, it is understood that existing UK test evidence will continue to be accepted and therefore existing DoPs and CE marking will not need to be changed.
- DoPs and CE marking based on EU-27 Notified Body
evidence and certification will be accepted in the UK for a time limited period,
- Being covered by an EU harmonised standard which is the same as a UK designated standard.
- DoPs and CE marking based on test evidence from UK Notified Bodies prior to the UK leaving the EU without a WA, will continue to be accepted in the UK for a time limited period.
Note: These will be identical on the day following the UK leaving the EU without a WD but may not continue to be identical as UK and EU standards may diverge over time.
- Are affixed with CE marking.
- Have been assessed by an EU-recognised notified body, where third party assessment is required.
- The length of the ‘time limited period’ is still to be determined.
- Existing Product Certification for AVCP System 1
- If an economic operator of a construction
product that is required to be third party certified (e.g. an AVCP System 1
characteristic such as ‘Resistance to fire’) wishes to place their products
only on the UK market:
- They may transfer their certification to an Approved Body in the UK: or
- Maintain certification with an EU-27 Notified Body for a time limited period only.
- If an economic operator of a construction
product that is required to be certified (e.g. an AVCP System 1 characteristic
such as ‘Resistance to fire’) wishes to place their products on the EU-27
market, they will need to maintain product certification through an EU-27
- If the construction
product is certified by a UK Notified Product Certification Body, they will
need to have their certification transferred to a Notified Product
Certification Body in the EU-27.
- This may be a simple transfer by their current Notified Body to the Notified Body operating centre within the EU-27. or
- Transfer their product certification to another Notified Body in the EU-27.
- If the construction product is certified by a Notified product Certification body in the EU-27, no action is required to enable the product to continue to be placed on the market in the EU-27.
- If the construction product is certified by a UK Notified Product Certification Body, they will need to have their certification transferred to a Notified Product Certification Body in the EU-27.
- If an economic operator of a construction product that is required to be third party certified (e.g. an AVCP System 1 characteristic such as ‘Resistance to fire’) wishes to place their products only on the UK market:
Summary of actions for businesses and other stakeholders following the UK leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement
operators placing construction products on the UK market should note:
- Where the European harmonised standard and the UK designated standard are the same, if the EU requirements are met (including CE marking) the product can continue to be placed on the UK market without any need for reassessment or re-marking. This includes that any third- party conformity assessment be carried out by an EU-recognised notified body. This will apply for a time-limited period and sufficient notice will be given to businesses before that period ends.
- Products that meet UK requirements and bear a UK conformity marking can be placed on the UK market. For those products, any third-party assessment must have been carried out by a UK-recognised conformity assessment body.
- UK-based notified bodies will become UK approved bodies and will be listed on a new UK database.
- Distributors who bring products in from the EU to the UK will in most cases now be classified as ‘importers’ bringing in products to the UK from a third country. This change in status will bring new obligations such as a requirement for importers to label their products with their name and address. Other obligations of importers include: that they must ensure that the AVCP has been carried out by the manufacturer; that the manufacturer has drawn up the technical documentation; that the product bears the conformity marking; and that the manufacturer has complied with their labelling obligations.
- In addition, importers must not place products on the market if they have reason to believe that the product does not comply with the applicable requirements of the CPR. UK economic operators should consider taking professional advice and consulting with their EU-based distributors (and customers who are retailers), where relevant.
placing products on the EU market should note:
European Commission’s notice to stakeholders advised that where “operators hold
certificates issued by a UK Notified Body prior to the withdrawal date and plan
to continue placing the product concerned on the EU-27 market as from the
withdrawal date, they are advised to consider either applying for a new
certificate issued by an EU-27 Notified Body or arranging for a transfer of the
file and the corresponding certificate from the UK Notified Body to an EU-27
Notified Body”. Any such transfer would be on the basis of a contractual arrangement
between the manufacturer, the UK Notified Body, and the EU Notified Body.
- In the above scenario, the product would need to be re-marked with the new EU-recognised notified body’s four-digit number.
- A list of EU-recognised notified bodies can be found on the NANDO database (http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/nando/index.cfm). The European Commission has advised that in a no deal scenario, after 29 March 2019 UK-based bodies will no longer be listed on this database.
- In practice, products must be placed on the EU market by a legal entity established in the EU, and UK manufacturers will be required to work with an EU-based importer or distributor.
- Customers and/or suppliers in the EU should gain an understanding how this guidance impacts their responsibilities.
- For operators exporting to the EU, the European Commission’s notice states that “As from the withdrawal date, a manufacturer or importer established in the United Kingdom will no longer be considered as an economic operator established in the Union.” The notice also sets out the effect of this is that relevant operators “will have to comply with the specific obligations relevant to an importer, which are different from those of a distributor”. Operators should consider taking professional advice as to how their obligations would change.
- The European Commission’s notice to stakeholders advised that where “operators hold certificates issued by a UK Notified Body prior to the withdrawal date and plan to continue placing the product concerned on the EU-27 market as from the withdrawal date, they are advised to consider either applying for a new certificate issued by an EU-27 Notified Body or arranging for a transfer of the file and the corresponding certificate from the UK Notified Body to an EU-27 Notified Body”. Any such transfer would be on the basis of a contractual arrangement between the manufacturer, the UK Notified Body, and the EU Notified Body.
The changing landscape of Brexit will require the GGF to have a close watching brief on events with continuous meetings and discussions with various Government departments, working parties, standards committees and related bodies.
The GGF will cascade any key information of any potential changes to technical standards directly to Members and the wider industry.
Visitors to this section of the Brexit Hub are advised that all technical updates on standards and regulations in relation to Brexit, will appear on this page.