Construction Products Regulation and Fire Safety
The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) lays down harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU. The Regulation provides a European framework to assess the performance of construction products.
It ensures that reliable and harmonised information is available to professionals, and consumers, and allows national authorities to set criteria and requirements based on this framework.
Out of the seven basic work requirements from which essential characteristics are established, the following have a strong safety component: mechanical safety, fire safety, safety in use, and emission of substances. Improved fire safety measures over the years have resulted in reducing the number of fire fatalities in Europe.
The members of the Modern Building Alliance prioritise the safety of construction products, with a particular emphasis on fire safety during every stage of design, manufacturing and delivery to market.
Construction products are subject to stringent regulations
Before they can be used in buildings in the EU, almost all construction products must first be tested and verified according to a harmonised European standard (hEN) or a European Assessment Document (EAD).
National authorities can set local performance requirements based on these documents, and market surveillance by the EU Member States ensures that these standards are met in practice. Another key part of the CPR is the Declaration of Performance (DoP), which provides precise and reliable information on the performance of a product.
Safety requirements depend on a building’s purpose or primary function. Therefore, it will always be left to the designer and the architect to correctly prescribe which product is to be used in a specific application, and to the end-user to purchase the product with the prescribed performance for its specific intended use.
As it is important to keep the whole framework up to date, the current CPR allows for standards as well as test methods and classification standards to be regularly reviewed in order to guarantee that they keep pace with technological changes and societal challenges.
Increased fire safety measures helped reduce fire fatalities across Europe
In recent decades, the fire death rate across the majority of EU countries has declined, while there has simultaneously been an increase in the use of plastic, including plastic insulation. This reduction in fire death rates contradicts any correlation between the rates and the use of plastic construction products and can be explained by the comprehensive regulation and testing already in place.
However, further improvements are needed in implementation and awareness raising to reduce the number of fire fatalities.
Plastics are combustible, like all organic products, such as wood and sheep wool, but they can be used safely in their intended building applications, as shown by thorough performance-based testing.
Further improvements are possible
The members of the Modern Building Alliance are continuously developing solutions to optimise the fire safety performance of their products, applications and buildings.
Building safety is primarily an EU Member State responsibility, but manufacturers and fire safety and construction professionals must be involved too. We strongly believe that the benefits from the application of plastics need never be at the expense of risk to human life.
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