The CSTB tailors its assessment services to help promote innovative solutions that benefit from regulatory flexibility in the field of construction.
As part of governmental simplification measures, some building regulations based on resource requirements now allow for the use of alternative solutions to those prescribed in regulations, as long as equivalent outcomes are achieved (examples of flexible regulations).
Article 88 of the act of July 7, 2016, on creative freedom, architecture and heritage, expands exemptions concerning the construction of public facilities or public housing, as well as works that are part of an urban planning project of national interest (OIN).
Innovative solutions outside the scope of current standards can contribute to architectural and engineering creativity while perfectly meeting the regulation’s objectives even though they are not prescribed as such.
The CSTB supports the innovation process and regulatory simplification by adapting its assessment services. The Technical Experimentation Assessment (ATEx) now extends to new solutions thanks to this regulatory flexibility.
Building industry stakeholders now have more opportunities to offer new solutions. The input of independent experts encourages the development of such solutions and reassures stakeholders. The ATEx builds trust in the solution by providing an expert opinion on the criteria typically covered by ATEx assessments (feasibility, safety, defect risks), and on the ability to achieve the outcomes specified in the regulations.
It answers this question: Does the proposed solution achieve the same outcome as the solutions prescribed in regulations?
An ATEx can supplement a technical file submitted to government agencies when authorization is required.
Areas concerned: products, systems and operations seeking to benefit from regulatory flexibility.
2 types of ATEx: “ATEx a” for products and systems, and “ATEx b” for the implementation of projects.
Who can request an ATEx? Any stakeholder involved: industrial companies, contractors, clients, designers, building control offices, insurers, public urban development agencies, etc.
Examples of regulatory flexibility
Opportunity to offer solutions that differ from those prescribed in regulations, subject to achieving the same outcomes.
This article concerns the construction of public facilities or public housing, as well as any works that are part of an urban planning project of national interest (OIN).
For high-rise buildings and premises open to the public: Authorizations, in compliance with fire regulations, can prescribe extensions or limitations to the requirements based on an application submitted by the client (French Building Code (CCH) R122-11-1 for high-rise buildings; and CCH R123-13 and order of June 25, 1980, article GN4 for premises open to the public).
For residential buildings: possibility of using construction devices or systems not covered by the order but that meet its requirements. The request includes a laboratory evaluation of the resistance or reaction to fire or a fire safety engineering study of fire resistance, reaction to fire and smoke removal (order of January 31, 1986, amended on June 19, 2015, article 105).
New housing units, premises open to the public in existing buildings: possibility of using equivalent solutions, subject to meeting the same objectives as the solutions prescribed in regulations (order of December 24, 2015, article 1 for new housing units; and order of December 8, 2014, article 1, for premises open to the public in existing buildings).
Possibility of proposing a lower flow rate for a mechanical device that automatically modulates air exchange in a housing unit so that indoor air pollution levels are safe for health, and condensation can be prevented, with intermittent variations allowed (order of March 24, 1982, article 4).
Thermal, acoustic and airflow regulations in French overseas territories:
Possibility of using methods that differ from those prescribed in regulations on natural ventilation, subject to demonstrating equivalent performance (order of April 17, 2009, amended on January 11, 2016, article 9-5).
Possibility of using methods that differ from those prescribed in regulations on protection against interior noise in buildings, subject to demonstrating equivalent performance (order of April 17, 2009, amended on January 11, 2016, article 4, provision 4 in the table).