The Construction Products Regulation Revision is key: The well-functioning European Single Market for construction products is a major prerequisite to promote affordable construction and renovation activities in order to enable an effective fight against climate change. A European renovation wave can only contribute successfully towards a more climate-neutral building stock if it remains affordable and enables as many Europeans as possible to invest in our future.
Sustainability and Green Deal: Promoting Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is necessary
- The Construction Products Regulation is the right place to regulate sustainability aspects of construction products (NOT the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR)).
- The envisaged mandatory declaration of LCA indicators will contribute to the green transition in the construction and building sector.
BUT a reasonable approach is needed to ensure feasibility and cost-efficiency:
- Only the use of the well-established Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) according to EN 15804 and
- the recognition of industry sector solutions (sector model EPDs) will prevent a cost-explosion.
- The mandatory essential characteristics regarding environmental sustainability should be limited to the EN 15804 core environmental impact categories and be declared as a whole: No cherry-picking of indicators
- The proposed sustainability-traffic-light-labelling must be limited to relevant product groups and introduced only for B2C-communication. EN 17672 could serve as a basis.
Exaggerated product requirements are a threat to affordable products
- Today construction products manufacturers provide declarations of performance (DoP) based on the essential characteristics of a construction product.
- Additionally, the Commission intends to require declarations of conformity (DoC) on new product requirements.
- The Commission intends to specify by delegated acts, relevant product requirements and essential characteristics for each product group and whether they are mandatory or voluntary.
- To ensure a well-balanced European requirement level, a detailed check of the Commission empowerment for delegated acts is necessary
- Industry and member states involvement must be ensured to provide the required expertise.
The fundamental principle of the Single Market is rightly kept:
- Member states are not allowed to define additional national requirements for harmonised construction products. This exhaustiveness principle is key for the Single Market
BUT question marks remain:
- The process to identify and considering the regulatory needs of member states in harmonised technical specifications is very unspecific. Only a clear-cut-understanding can address one of the key problems of the current CPR.
Further efforts are needed to avoid a future backlog of harmonised standards.
- The Commission asks to be empowered to introduce harmonised technical specifications via delegated acts if the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) does not provide (appropriate) standards or fails to provide them on time.
- Placing this sword of Damocles over CEN is the only attempt in the new legal text to solve the most important key challenge of the current CPR: the inadequate interaction between CEN and Commission to produce technical and lawful harmonised standards.
Therefore, optimise and accelerate the European standardisation process:
- The main goal must remain to enable the technical experts in CEN to develop standards citable in the Official Journal.
- Introducing harmonised technical standards via delegated acts must remain the exception. Only the technical experts of CEN can ensure high quality technical standards that can be put into practice.
Digitalisation: more courage is needed
- Only the DoP/DoC in a uniform, machine-readable format will enable professional end-users to easily conduct automatic compliance checks using an app.
- The envisaged digital product passport should be established via the future CPR and not via the ESPR.
Avoid overweening bureaucracy and protect confidential business information.
- The proposed EU-construction products database for declarations and supplementary information would place an extensive administrative burden on manufacturers. Furthermore, protection of confidential business information (CBI) needs to be considered.
- Binding reporting obligations should be avoided as far as possible and limited to the absolute minimum: It should be checked whether DoP and DoC are sufficient.
- The envisaged technical documentation contains CBI. Therefore, the technical documentation should be hold by the manufacturer and only be made available for the national market surveillance authorities on request.
The intended Commission power grab needs to be reviewed.
- Successful implementation of CPR is imperative to solve identified problems.
- A detailed review of the multitude mandates for delegated acts and the required resources is necessary
- It must be ensured that member states and industry are involved to provide the necessary expertise.
Deutsche Bauchemie e.V.