CE marking and concrete
The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) requires that from 1 July 2013 it is mandatory for many, but not all construction products to have CE markings in order to be placed on the market anywhere in Europe. Exemptions include site-batched products, ready-mixed concrete and products without a harmonised European standard, such as reinforcement, but also bespoke products, such as bespoke precast concrete.
CE marking is an indicator of a product’s compliance with applicable EU legislation and its legitimacy to be placed on the market within the European Market. CE stands for Communaute Europeenne.
CE marking communicates that a product meets a set of basic European harmonised standards, or a European Technical Assessment. Each product with CE markings has a Declaration of Performance (DoP) that is made available to purchasers and specifiers.
A full list of the harmonised standards under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) can be found on the NANDO information system website:
CE marking and the Building Regulations
An updated Materials and Workmanship section of the Building Regulations (Part 7) also came into effect on 1 July 2013. It continues to list CE marking as just one way in which the suitability of a material can be assessed for use for a specific purpose and advises that the declared performance of a material with CE marking is checked for suitability for the building works proposed.
For many standardised products, CE marking may become the default requirement by Building Control Officers to demonstrate material suitability, but for many others, particularly bespoke solutions, other means of compliance will continue to be used. These include British Standards and other national and international technical specification; independent certification schemes; tests and calculations (3rd-party accredited) and/or past experience.
There remains no requirement for proof of CE marking to be routinely supplied for Building Control approval.
Should architects and engineers be specifying CE marking for all concrete construction products?
No, not all products need CE marking. As explained above, CE marking is a symbol that the product has met a harmonised standard. Some products do not have a harmonised standard and even then there are exemptions. Where there is ambiguity specifiers should seek guidance from manufacturers and their trade associations.
Specifiers should understand that CE marking was not intended as a quality standard and that current EN and BS standards remain the correct references for specification. For quality ready-mixed concrete various 3rd-party accredited quality assurance schemes exist such as QSRMC and BSI and CARES for reinforcement.