CE Marking of products

CE Marking demonstrates compliance with the appropriate manufacturing standard for a product. As a symbol, it will be familiar as it has been a requirement for many years on products sold in the European Union such as toys and electrical goods.

Under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), new legal obligations have been placed on manufacturers, distributors and importers of construction products used within the EU to CE Mark their products where they are covered by either a harmonised standard or European Technical Assessment (ETA).

This applies not only to constituent products (such as steel beams, bolts etc) but also to fabricated elements and systems made from CE Marked products. The CPR requires the CE Marking of all construction products from 1 July 2013 and the CE Marking of fabricated structural steelwork from 1 July 2014.

The CPR describes the legal obligations it places on the construction supply chain in terms of 'manufacturers', 'distributors' and 'importers'. However, the construction supply chain in the UK would normally be described in terms of clients, designers, specifiers, contractors and specialist subcontractors. The purpose of this document is to provide some guidance to the UK supply chain on the implications of the CPR on steel construction.

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Under the CPR, all products used in construction from 1 July 2013 must-have CE Marking to demonstrate compliance where either a harmonised standard or ETA is in force.

All mainstream construction products are covered by harmonised standards and will therefore have to be CE Marked from that date. For fabricated structural steelwork, engineers, contractors and steelwork contractors should amend their specifications accordingly to ensure only CE Marked products are used on their projects.

This should not cause any disruption in the supply of material as manufacturers, such as Tata Steel with their Advance section range and Celsius® 355 and Hybox® 355 structural hollow sections, have been CE Marking their products for a number of years in anticipation of the CPR requirement.

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CE Marking of fabricated structural steelwork

The harmonised standard covering fabricated structural steelwork is BS EN 1090: Execution of steel structures and aluminium structures.

Part 1 of the standard is the Requirements for Conformity Assessment of Structural Components. It describes how manufacturers can demonstrate that the components they produce meet the declared performance characteristics (the structural characteristics which make them fit for their particular use and function).

Part 2 is the Technical Requirements for Steel Structures. It specifies the requirements for the execution of steel structures to ensure adequate levels of mechanical resistance and stability, serviceability and durability. It determines the performance characteristics for components that the manufacturer must achieve and declare through the requirements of Part 1.

BS EN 1090-1 becomes mandatory on 1 July 2014. It will therefore be a legal requirement for all fabricated structural steelwork delivered to the site from that date to be CE Marked.

The BCSA has made CE Marking compliance a condition of membership of the Association from 1 July 2014, so the selection of any BCSA Member company will guarantee that the steelwork contractor will have the necessary certification to comply with the CPR requirements. Clients and main contractors will therefore have confidence in the complete supply chain for steel construction from the manufacture of the steel sections through distribution to fabrication and erection on site.

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