The purpose of CE marking is to certify, when a construction product is put on the market, that it complies with the basic requirements of the European regulations and directives, including the Construction Products Regulation (CPR).
CE marking of a construction product:
- allows the product to be marketed, in free circulation throughout Europe;
- attests to the product's fitness for conventional use: the general use intended by the manufacturer, without reference to any specific regulatory, contractual or functional constraints which may ultimately apply, concerning the actual use of the product on a given worksite;
- enables a manufacturer to assert that the recommended attestation system has been applied to its product, whether the product is subject to a harmonized European standard or a European Technical Assessment (ETA).
Assessment by an approved laboratory
An assessment by an approved laboratory constitutes an expert opinion on solutions that are outside of the framework of regulatory testing, regarding fire resistance.
The fire resistance performance of construction products, components and works is characterized by conventional tests in order to meet a regulatory requirement in terms of fire safety. Beyond that, in order to cover wider areas of application (constituent variants, size ranges of products, etc.) or to meet a need related to a specific construction work (for worksite assessments), it can occasionally be useful to adapt the conventional tests in order to make them more relevant to the stated need.
In this case, the regulations allow that the approved laboratory may evaluate the fire resistance performance of the construction element by:
- Using experience acquired in fire behavior assessments
- Using knowledge acquired during fires
- Basing the evaluation on the results of conventional or special tests
- Avoiding the systematic use of tests.
Technical Appraisal (ATec) / Technical Application Document (DTA)
A Technical Appraisal is an opinion formed by a group of experts who are representative of the construction industry, called the Specialized Groups (SG), on the fitness for use of construction works built with innovative systems.
The Specialized Groups are under the authority of the Commission Responsible for Issuing Technical Appraisals and Technical Application Documents (CCFAT).
When an application concerns a product subject to CE marking, the appraisal is issued in the form of a Technical Application Document (DTA).
The Technical Appraisal or the DTA makes it possible to:
- inform all French stakeholders of the construction industry on the expected behavior and durability of construction works built using a given system, in its precise scope of application, given the defined implementation requirements and the relevant regulations;
- provide independent, objective information;
- inform construction professionals about fulfilling their responsibilities;
- take into account the integration and interaction of the product/system in the various categories of construction works.
Technical Experimentation Assessment (ATEx)
Created on the initiative of the CSTB with the technical inspection bodies, the ATEx is a quick technical assessment procedure implemented by a group of experts, for any product, system or equipment that is not yet covered by a Technical Appraisal, in order to facilitate usage of the innovation in construction. Examples of ATEx: light facades, glass walls, skylights, underfloor heating and cooling systems, roofing membranes, reinforcement of structures, and more.
European Technical Assessment (ETA)
The European Technical Assessment (ETA) was put in place by the Construction Product Regulation. The European Technical Assessment is gradually replacing the European Technical Approval. The European Technical Assessment is issued by a technical assessment body, upon the request of a manufacturer, on the basis of a European assessment document prepared in advance. If the European assessment document exists, the technical assessment body uses it as a reference to conduct the European Technical Assessment. Otherwise, it must first draft this European assessment document and then have it approved by the other technical assessment bodies.
Pass'Innovation (fast-track assessments)
Pass'Innovation fast-track assessments are a recently-developed technical assessment procedure for innovation, initiated at the CSTB to keep pace with the need in France for rapid development and integration of technical solutions, particularly those that contribute to the priorities of the “Grenelle” environmental policy. This assessment procedure mainly concerns techniques that have already obtained some positive feedback or a favorable fitness-for-use assessment from another country.
Preliminary Technical Evaluation of Material (ETPM)
In some cases the industry may offer an innovative material or semi-finished product that does not have a precise application in construction, but that can be used as a component in various products, systems or equipment coming under the scope of several Specialized Groups.
To be able to provide Technical Appraisals for these products, systems or equipment, the Specialized Groups need to know the properties of the new material or semi-finished product. But they do not necessarily have the skills needed to assess these properties (durability, for example). Additionally, for the sake of consistency, the different Specialized Groups must work from the same basis. This is why, in these cases, a Specialized Group with the requisite skills, or an ad'hoc Group, is asked to assess the new material or semi-finished product, mainly to form the common basis for work that other Specialized Groups may need later. This preliminary assessment is known as the ETPM.
Certification of products and services
Certification – a voluntary procedure – guarantees the manufacturing constancy of a product in relation to specifically defined or target characteristics and performance levels.
Through the use of an independent, impartial and competent body that checks the regularity and efficiency of the inspections performed by the manufacturer, product certification provides the user with information regarding:
- the manufacturing constancy of a product and its performance;
- the certainty that a product is fit for a given purpose;
- a reduction in the amount of acceptance inspections required;
- traceability to facilitate recourse, if necessary.
From a commercial point of view:
- for the company receiving the certification, product certification is a way of differentiating itself from the competition, by providing proof of quality;
- for their customers, product certification is a way of reliably identifying the products, services, entities and people who meet established and verified criteria.
Product certification can facilitate the product selection process.
Certification of stakeholders and construction works
CertiVéA, a subsidiary of the CSTB Group, uses certification to help stakeholders of the construction sector improve their performance in every area: managerial, customer satisfaction, technical and environmental.
Its main objective is to encourage improvement and certify the performance of stakeholders and buildings, cities and local areas, with the aim of achieving sustainable development. CertiVéA offers certification services focused on non-residential buildings, local areas and the stakeholders of the construction industry.
A subsidiary of the CSTB Group and the Qualitel Association, Céquami is the reference body for quality certification, labeling and promotion of the overall quality of new-build and refurbished private homes.
Mandatory or voluntary assessments, depending on the case
Testing consists of assessing the properties, characteristics or behavior of materials, products or components. Generally conducted in laboratories, these tests are based on samples and established testing processes. The results are compiled in a test report, and, in certain cases, a classification report is also issued.
Depending on the products, their purpose and the target characteristics, classifications are:
- regulatory, either for market release, or for use in regulated construction works;
- purely voluntary, for example, as part of a certification.