Within the meaning of Regulation (EU) 305/2011, any product intended for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works is a "construction product". In addition, its performance must influence that of the construction works, as regards their basic requirements.

From screed to structural timber, products used in structural work, such as tiles, bricks, slabs and beams are construction products. However, the same applies to finishing products such as mosaics or door hardware.

The elements which are part of a system and permanently integrated into the structure, such as smoke detectors, taps and bathtubs, are also construction products.
Finally, the regulations also apply to kits, i.e. a construction product placed on the market by a single manufacturer as a set of at least two separate components that need to be put together to be incorporated in the construction works. This category includes, for example, fire-resistant paints.

To summarise, construction products can be:

  • basic products (cement);
  • finished or semi-finished products (windows);
  • kits made from certain products (fire-resistant paints).

The regulations applicable to the sale of construction products do not prevent other regulatory provisions from also being applicable to these products. Without being exhaustive, we can state around a dozen elements of European legislation which have an influence on construction products.

For example:

  • the safety requirements for motorised garage doors,
  • the quality of drinking water for sanitary products, or
  • the REACH Regulation for chemicals contained in certain adhesives.

In addition, the competent authorities in the member states may impose conditions for their use, for example:

  • as regards ventilation, in regional decrees on the energy performance of buildings;
  • as regards the reaction to fire of products in federal fire safety regulations.

The basic requirements apply to construction works as a whole (and not to the construction products individually!).

The works can be buildings (private houses, buildings, etc.) or civil engineering works (bridges, roads, dams, etc.) for which the dimensioning criteria and the purpose of the works are important.

The seven basic requirements are specified in Annex I of the Regulation:

  1. Mechanical resistance and stability: [avoid the] collapse of the whole or part of the work, major deformations to an inadmissible degree, etc.
  2. Safety in case of fire: the generation and spread of fire and smoke within the construction works are limited; the spread of fire to neighbouring construction works is limited; occupants can leave the construction works or be rescued by other means, etc. 
  3. Hygiene, health and the environment: [avoid] the giving-off of toxic gas, the emission of dangerous radiation, etc. 
  4. Safety and accessibility in use: [avoid risks] such as slipping, falling, collision, burns, electrocution, injury from explosion and burglaries, etc. taking into consideration accessibility and use for disabled persons, etc. 
  5. Protection against noise: The construction works must be designed and built in such a way that noise perceived by the occupants or people nearby is kept to a level that will not threaten their health and will allow them to sleep, rest and work in satisfactory conditions, etc. 
  6. Energy economy and heat retention: heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation installations must be designed and built in such a way that the amount of energy they require in use shall be low, they must also be energy-efficient, using as little energy as possible during their construction and dismantling, etc. 
  7. Sustainable use of natural resources: durability of the construction works, use of environmentally compatible raw and secondary materials in the construction works, etc.

The regulations applicable to the sale of construction products do not lay down the rules for the construction of construction works.

The provisions implementing the basic requirements are the responsibility of each member state. Member states have the possibility to develop these provisions, inter alia in terms of fire safety or accessibility for people with reduced mobility, or energy economy, or...

Before defining the performance of a construction product, it is important to point out that construction products must be suitable for the use made of them within a work.

For example, a house must be windproof. Such impermeability is achieved by sealing the frame. The basic requirement for energy economy on the work (the house) has an effect on the quality of the product (the frame).

The essential characteristics are the characteristics of a construction product (in our example, the impermeability of the frame) which correspond to the basic requirements applicable to construction works.

These are the essential characteristics of products that are subject to a declaration of performance.

The performance of construction products corresponding to the relevant essential characteristics are expressed in terms of level (numerical value), class (range of performance levels, delimited by a minimum value and a maximum value).

In our example, the essential characteristics of doors and windows are specified in Annex ZA of EN 14351-1 Windows and doors - Product standard, performance characteristics, Part 1: Windows and external pedestrian doorsets without resistance to fire and/or smoke leakage characteristics.

This harmonised standard refers for air permeability to EN 12207 Windows and doors - Air permeability - Classification. This technical standard lays down the class ranges for air permeability, in particular in relation to the total area and length of the opening joint.

Whatever the procedure used (product covered by a harmonised standard or product in conformity with its European technical assessment), the regulation provides for five systems for the assessment and verification of the constancy of performance of construction products corresponding to their essential characteristics:

  • system 1+,
  • system 1,
  • system 2+,
  • system 3,
  • system 4.

This classification takes into account the role of products in the safety of works. The products considered as having the most important role are classified in system 1+.

The European Commission determines, after consultation with the representatives of the member states, which system(s) is/are applicable, taking into account in particular the effects on the health and safety of persons and on the environment. The choice may relate to a product in particular, a family of products or an essential characteristic.

Specifically, the systems of assessment and verification of the constancy of performance lay down the tasks to be performed in determining the typical product, or factory production control. Each system involves different tasks which will be carried out, as the case may be, by the manufacturer or the notified body.

Except for system 4 of the assessment and verification of the constancy of performance, the intervention of a notified body is always required.

Notified bodies are responsible for carrying out, as third parties, tasks falling within the assessment and verification procedure for the constancy of performance of construction products. These are independent bodies with legal personality.

The notified bodies taking part in the assessment and verification of the constancy of performance of construction products can be subdivided into three types of notified bodies:

  • the product certification body is involved in systems 1+ and 1 of the assessment and verification of the constancy of the performance of construction products. It issues the certificate of the constancy of the performance of the product.
  • the factory production control certification body is involved in system 2+ of the assessment and verification of the constancy of the performance of construction products. It issues the certificate of conformity for factory production control.
  • the testing laboratory is involved in system 3 of the assessment and verification of the constancy of the performance of construction products. It may also intervene at the request of the certification body for systems 1+ and 1. It measures, examines, tests, calibrates or otherwise determines the characteristics or performance of construction products.

These bodies are notified by the member state of origin to the European Commission and the other member states.

The European Commission keeps a database listing all notified bodies for the purposes, inter alia, of the Construction Products Regulation.

Their area of activity is indicated in relation to the technical specifications for which these bodies are recognised as being competent and according to their function, i.e. the type of body as described above.

You can find this database on the website of the European Commission.

The notification is an act intended to officially inform the Commission and the other member states that a body has been designated by its member state to carry out the conformity assessment of a product, if a third party is required in the context of marking.

The assessment of the notified body will determine:

  • whether it is competent in technical terms,
  • whether it can ensure the assessment procedures for conformity in question, and
  • whether it demonstrates the required level of independence, impartiality and integrity.

The competence of the notified body must also be monitored at regular intervals.

The ISO/IEC 17000 series of standards and accreditation are instruments that can be used to ensure the competence of the notified body.

In the context of Regulation (EU) 305/2011, the FPS Economy is responsible for notification for Belgium. Accreditation of bodies is mandatory. The specific requirements are specified in document 2-405CPR (PDF, 122.85 KB), edited by BELAC.

The Royal Decree of 21 July 2014 contains the rules on the assessment, notification and verification of notified bodies. Open the application form for the notification of a body.

You must send the application by post (in case of a new body) or by email to:

Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy
Directorate-General for Quality and Security
Specifications in Construction Department
NG, 2nd floor
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 16
1000 Brussels
email: bocova@economie.fgov.be
 

The CE marking, as shown opposite, must be visible, legible and indelible.

In principle, it is affixed to the product itself or to a label attached to it, or to the packaging.

The CE marking "alone" does not make it possible to choose the most suitable product for the intended use. This marking provides a guarantee that manufacturers or the parties responsible for placing it on the market or importers take responsibility for the declared performance.

As of 1 July 2013, CE marked construction products must also have a declaration of performance.

Not all construction products need to have CE marking!

Pursuant to Regulation 305/2011, if no declaration of performance has been made, the CE marking may not be affixed.

Not all construction products need to be accompanied by the declaration of performance, and be CE-marked.

Before refusing a product that is not CE marked, it must first be checked whether the CE marking applies to the product in question.

There are three possible scenarios:

  1. The product is covered by a harmonised standard. The manufacturer draws up a declaration of performance for this product when it is placed on the market. However, during the period of coexistence of harmonised standards, products of the same family may legally be placed on the market regardless of whether they are accompanied by a declaration of performance and consequently CE marked, or not. If it is a new version of a standard which was already harmonised in the past during the coexistence period, the product may be accompanied by a declaration of performance based on the previous version of the standard, or a declaration of performance already made on the basis of the new version of the harmonised standard. One way of determining whether the product is covered by a harmonised standard, and the period of coexistence, is to consult the list of harmonised standards in the Official Journal of the European Union.
  2. Although the product may be covered by a harmonised standard, a manufacturer may derogate from the obligation to draw up a declaration of performance when placing its product on the market, in accordance with Article 5 of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011, in three scenarios and at its earliest convenience.
  3. As yet, there is no harmonised technical specification for this type of construction product.

If the construction product is subject to multiple legislation specifying the affixing of CE marking, the CE marking must indicate that the product complies with the applicable requirements of these different legislations.

One single CE marking confirms compliance with these legislations. By marking its product as CE, the manufacturer undertakes to comply with all the requirements laid down in the European regulations applicable to its product, and which require CE marking.

Specifically, the CE marking affixed to an electric garage door implies that it complies with the provisions of this regulation, but also with the requirements set out in the directives relating to low voltage, machinery and electromagnetic compatibility.

It should be stressed that the declarations of conformity provided by the manufacturer and included in the technical file must specify and cite the legislation with which their products must comply.

What is the declaration of performance?

The declaration of performance is a vital element for construction actors. It accompanies the product when it is sold.

From 1 July 2013 onwards, a construction product covered by a harmonised standard or in conformity with its European Technical Assessment must be accompanied by a declaration of performance when placed on the market. This pertains to its essential characteristics, expressed by level or class or by a description, in accordance with the applicable harmonised technical specifications.

It allows the user (or the prescriber of the product) to choose a construction product and be aware of its declared performance for the intended use. The user will then be able to ensure that the work meets the basic requirements applicable to it, and taking into account the place where it will be built. Depending on the regions in Europe where the work will be built, it will be subjected to a different environment (extreme temperatures, frost, sunshine, seismic activity, etc.).

Who is responsible for the declaration of performance?

The manufacturer draws up the declaration of performance, taking into account its product and the intended uses.

An importer or distributor may also be considered as a manufacturer if it places a product on the market under its own name or brand, or if it modifies a construction product which is already placed on the market in such a way that conformity with the declaration of performance may be affected.

What does the declaration of performance contain?

The declaration of performance is drawn up using the template set out in Annex III to the regulation.

Since the beginning of June 2014, manufacturers can use a new template, which is more flexible and adaptable to their products. In effect, as long as the information required by the regulation is provided in a clear and consistent manner, the following in particular is possible:

  • using a different presentation from that proposed by the template, or not numbering the different headings;
  • presenting the different information in a different order or using one or more tables;
  • deleting headings which are not relevant for the product concerned by the declaration of performance. For example, this may be the case if the declaration of performance is based on a harmonised standard or on a European Technical Assessment issued for the product, rendering the other possibility not applicable. These omissions may also relate to matters relating to the authorised representative, or the use of an appropriate technical document or a specific technical document.

It includes, in particular, the reference of the product type, the system for the assessment and verification of the constancy of performance of the construction product (1+, 1, 2+, 3 or 4), the reference of the harmonised standard (and its date of publication) or the reference of the European Technical Assessment which was used to assess each essential characteristic. In the case of a simplified procedure, it will also include the reference number of the specific technical documentation.

The declaration of performance must also contain the intended use or uses of the construction product, in accordance with the applicable harmonised technical specification and the list of essential characteristics as laid down in this harmonised technical specification for the intended use or uses declared.

For the products covered by a harmonised standard, the list is included in Annex ZA of the standard.

At least one of the relevant performances of the essential characteristics of the intended use of the construction product must be declared as indicated in the harmonised technical specifications. The manufacturer will determine what is relevant.

The manufacturer must also declare the performance for the intended use, taking into consideration the provisions concerning any use for which the manufacturer intends to make the product available. This is expressed by level or class, or by a description.

For performance which is not determined, the letters "NPD" (No Performance Determined) can be used. When the manufacturer does not wish to declare a performance for a characteristic, it can use these letters if both of the following conditions are met: Firstly, if it has already declared at least one relevant performance. Secondly, when and where the characteristic, for a given use, is not subject to regulatory requirements of the receiving member state or to a decision of the European Commission.

If a manufacturer wishes to issue a single declaration of performance covering variants of a product type, it is advisable to indicate at least the following elements separately and clearly for each variant: the number of the declaration of performance, the product type identification code and the performance(s) declared.

The declaration of performance must also be accompanied by information regarding the hazardous substance content of the construction product. This additional information makes it possible to:

  • improve the possibilities of sustainable construction in particular,
  • be in line with the REACH Regulation,
  • ensure the safety of workers on construction, maintenance or demolition sites.

When does the declaration of performance need to be adapted?

A declaration of performance for a product type remains valid as long as nothing changes as regards the essential characteristics of the product (raw materials, composition, etc.) which affect the declared performance of the product. If changes to the performance are made, a new declaration of performance must be drawn up.

A new declaration of performance must also be drawn up if a standard is modified and the new test methods result in a difference in the declared performance.

How does the declaration of performance need to be submitted?

A copy of the declaration of performance of each product made available on the market must be submitted either in paper format, if the user so requests (e.g. document accompanying the invoice), or electronically (e.g. by email).

Since 24 February 2014, economic operators may also make a declaration of performance available on a website. It is important that within the range of products offered by the manufacturer, the user has direct and unambiguous access to the declaration of performance corresponding to the construction product delivered to him or her, for a period of 10 years from the placing on the market of the construction product.

This new element does not change the balance of responsibilities between the different actors. The link between the product bearing a CE marking and the declaration of performance must be direct. It is always possible for users to request the performance declaration in paper format.  

Are there any possible derogations?

For:

  • products made on-site,
  • individually manufactured products for a special order, or
  • specific products for listed monuments and sites,

there is a derogation. The derogations allow the manufacturer not to have to draw up a declaration of performance, and not affix the CE marking.

The conditions in extenso are set out in Article 5 of the regulation, and must be consulted if a derogation is envisaged. This derogation is only possible in the absence of specific provisions of the member states or the Union nonetheless requiring the declaration of performance.

The technical specifications are documents that include the technical elements so that the products can meet the requirements of the regulations. These documents include tests and possibly calculations to assess the performance of construction products.

The term "harmonised" refers to harmonised European documents.

The harmonised technical specifications include the harmonised standards and the European Assessment Documents.

What are the European Assessment Documents?

The European Assessment Documents are drafted and adopted by the Technical Assessment Body (TAB) and forwarded to the Commission, which publishes a list of the references of the definitive European Assessment Documents in the Official Journal of the European Union.

These documents allow the manufacturer to request a European Technical Assessment for one of its specific products if it is not covered or only partially covered by a harmonised standard.

What are harmonised standards?

Since 1 July 2013, when sold, construction products must be accompanied, where appropriate, by a declaration of performance drawn up on the basis of harmonised technical specifications, and they must bear the CE marking.

The harmonised standards are documents adopted by European standardisation bodies (CEN or CENELEC) and drafted in the context of a mandate issued by the European Commission. The references of these standards are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. If a product is covered by a harmonised European standard, the manufacturer must use the test methods indicated therein, which ensures a "common language" for the declaration of performance. The complete list of harmonised standards is regularly published by the European Commission in the Official Journal of the European Union. It can be consulted on the website of the European Commission NANDO.

The aim of standardisation is to provide reference documents laying down standardised test methods. In this context, harmonised standards serve as a link between the basic requirements of works and determining the performance of construction products, based on their characteristics and intended uses.

For each product family, these standards reflect the state of the art, and aim for harmonisation. They include product characteristics, intended use(s), where appropriate national specificities, tests and calculation methods to determine product performance.

For the products covered by a harmonised standard, it is consequently on a common technical basis that manufacturers declare the performance of their products.

In Belgium, you can check compatibility by obtaining the harmonised standard from the Bureau for Standardisation NBN.

NBN
Rue Joseph II, 40/6
1000 Brussels
Tel.: 02 738 01 11
Fax: 02 733 42 64
Email: info@nbn.be
Website: http://www.nbn.be

Based on the list of harmonised standards published on the website of the European Commission NANDO, you will find below, for each product area, the titles of the harmonised standards in question, a brief, non-exhaustive description of the scope, the intended use and some examples of typical products covered by these standards.

These tables are intended to be indicative. In no event do they exempt you from checking the compatibility of the product with the scope as laid down by the harmonised standards.

  1. Precast normal/lightweight/autoclaved aerated concrete products

  2. Doors, windows, shutters, gates and related building hardware (PDF, 17.36 KB)

  3. Membranes, including liquid applied and kits (for water and/or water vapour control) (PDF, 18.57 KB)
  4. Thermal insulation products - composite insulating kits/systems (PDF, 97.84 KB)
  5. Structural bearings - pins for structural joints (PDF, 88.31 KB)
  6. Chimneys, flues and specific products
  7. Gypsum products (PDF, 80.45 KB)
  8. Geotextiles, geomembranes and related products (PDF, 87.04 KB)
  9. Curtain walling (PDF, 60.28 KB)
  10. Fixed fire fighting equipment (PDF, 33.24 KB) (Fire alarm/detection, fixed firefighting, fire and smoke control and explosion suppression product)
  11. Sanitary appliances (PDF, 14.63 KB)
  12. Circulation fixtures: road equipment (PDF, 20.13 KB)
  13. Structural timber products/elements and ancillaries (PDF, 15.52 KB)
  14. Wood-based panels and elements (PDF, 60.81 KB)
  15. Cements, building limes and other hydraulic binders (PDF, 69.84 KB)
  16. Reinforcing and pre-stressing steel for concrete (and ancillaries) - Post-tensioning kits
  17. Masonry and related products - Masonry units, mortars and ancillaries (PDF, 108.15 KB)
  18. Wastewater engineering products
  19. Floorings (PDF, 25.93 KB)
  20. Structural metallic products and ancillaries (PDF, 74.28 KB)
  21. Internal and external wall and ceiling finishes. Internal partition kits (PDF, 104.42 KB)
  22. Roof coverings, roof lights, roof windows and ancillary products - Roof kits (PDF, 43.9 KB)
  23. Road construction products (PDF, 20.2 KB)
  24. Aggregates (PDF, 67.95 KB)
  25. Construction adhesives (PDF, 29.79 KB)
  26. Products related to concrete, mortar and grout (PDF, 112.9 KB)
  27. Space heating appliances (PDF, 76.01 KB)
  28. Pipes-tanks and ancillaries not in contact with water intended for human consumption (PDF, 97.57 KB)
  29. Construction products in contact with water intended for human consumption
  30. Flat glass, profiled glass and glass block products (PDF, 35.14 KB)
  31. Power, control and communication cables (PDF, 67.49 KB)
  32. Sealants for joints (PDF, 64.39 KB)
  33. Fixings
  34. Building kits, units and prefabricated elements
  35. Fire-stopping, fire-sealing and fire-protective products. Fire-retardant products
    currently no harmonised standards


If the product is affected, the manufacturer must refer to Annex ZA of the harmonised standard.

Using the latter, he or she will have to determine the testing methods as well as the system for assessing and verifying the constancy of performance.

Annex ZA is mandatory, as long as the coexistence period has expired. Some standards integrate national specifications (climate-related, cultural, etc.). These may influence the mandatory harmonised part and/or the voluntary part of the standard.

On the European Commission NANDO website, two dates are indicated for each harmonised standard: the start and the end of the coexistence period, respectively "Date of entry into force of the standard as a harmonised standard" and "Date of the end of the coexistence period".

Since 1 July 2013, the rule is: at the start date of the coexistence period, it is already possible to use the harmonised standard to draw up a declaration of performance for a construction product covered by this standard. From the date of the end of the coexistence period on, the harmonised standard is the only means of drawing up this declaration of performance for a construction product covered by this standard. As such, other existing standards with the same scope are no longer in force. The period between these two dates allows manufacturers to liquidate stocks, among other things.

If a member state wishes to develop measures to implement a basic requirement, it must take into account the rules and conditions set out in Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 and in particular Articles 8.3. and 8.6.

Article 8.3.

For any construction product covered by a harmonised standard, or for which a European Technical Assessment has been issued, the CE marking shall be the only marking which attests conformity of the construction product with the declared performance in relation to the essential characteristics, covered by that harmonised standard or by the European Technical Assessment.

In this respect, member states shall not introduce any references or shall withdraw any references in national measures to a marking attesting conformity with the declared performance in relation to the essential characteristics covered by a harmonised standard other than the CE marking.

Article 8.6.

The methods used by the member states in their requirements for construction works, as well as other national rules in relation to the essential characteristics of construction products, shall be in accordance with harmonised standards.

Specifically, if these provisions cover the essential characteristics of the products covered by a harmonised standard, the member state must rely on the test and calculation methods indicated in the harmonised standard. Moreover, to require a level of performance for an essential characteristic, the member state must refer to those listed in this standard (value, class, threshold).

If a state has not intended to regulate, the prescribers can then set the performance of the products they wish for their works, with reference in particular to existing standards.

The compatibility between the specifications and the declaration of performance is also very important.

To ensure proper compatibility of the product with the work, the principal, architect or contractor must accurately express their expectations in terms of purpose of use and level of performance of the products.

The principal, architect or contractor retains the right to choose the product best suited to their special specifications and constraints, subject to applicable legal conditions. It is likely that they will have a preference for certain products that they are used to using. However, for products whose performance is declared based on harmonised technical specifications, they will have reliable information as a basis for comparison to select the product best suited to the intended use.

Finally, it should be stressed that only construction products accompanied by a declaration of performance may bear the CE marking (according to the rules for affixing, in the context of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011). 

The European Technical Assessment is linked to a particular product and its manufacturer. It consists of a documented assessment of the performance of a specific construction product, as regards its essential characteristics in accordance with the relevant European Assessment Document. There is currently no standard format. However, in the long run, for a harmonised implementation, the Commission may adopt implementing measures to establish their form.

The manufacturer may request a European Technical Assessment if, and only if:

  • its product is not covered (or not totally covered) by a harmonised standard.

It is possible that the product in question does not fall within the scope of a harmonised standard or that the essential characteristic for which the manufacturer wishes to make a declaration of performance is not covered by a test method described in a harmonised standard. For example, a manufacturer of thermal insulation based on hemp or cellulose may initiate, on a voluntary basis, a procedure to obtain a European Technical Assessment.

A European Assessment Document covering this type of product has already been drafted and adopted.

If its product is not covered (or not totally covered) by a harmonised standard and there is no applicable European Assessment Document, the manufacturer may request, on a voluntary basis, that a European Assessment Document is drawn up to obtain a European Technical Assessment.

What are the obligations of manufacturers, importers and distributors?

Obligations of the manufacturer

The manufacturer is the main party responsible for the performance of the materials placed on the market. It is the natural or legal person which manufactures (or has designed or manufactured) a construction product and sells it under its own name or brand.

It is up to this party to:

  • draw up the technical documentation as the basis for the declared performance;
  • ensure that the procedures for placing on the market are respected;
  • declare the performance of the product (if this applies to their product);
  • apply, where appropriate, the rules for CE marking;
  • ensure that its product is accompanied by safety instructions and information, which is easily understandable by users.

The importer is the natural or legal person who places a construction product from a third country on the EU market.

It is up to this party to examine whether the assessment and verification of the constancy of performance has indeed been carried out by the manufacturer outside the European Union.

He or she ensures that the latter has drawn up the technical documentation and the declaration of performance.

He or she also ensures that when required, the product bears the CE marking and is accompanied by the necessary documents.

Importers must indicate on the construction product:

  • their name,
  • their corporate name or registered trademark, and
  • the address where they can be contacted.

The importer must also ensure that the storage or transport conditions do not compromise the conformity of the product with the declaration of performance or its conformity with other applicable requirements.

The distributor is the economic operator who makes construction products available. As a link in the supply chain, it must ensure that the product sold meets the requirements of these regulations, namely:

  • that it bears, where required, the CE marking;
  • that it is accompanied by the relevant documents (declaration of performance, instructions for use, manual, list of hazardous substances, etc.);
  • that it is accompanied by instructions and safety information provided in the language of the country, which are easily understandable by users.

The distributor must also ensure that the storage or transport conditions do not compromise the conformity of the product with the declaration of performance or its conformity with other applicable requirements.

When is an importer or a distributor deemed to be a manufacturer?

The importer or distributor

  • who puts a product on the market under its own name or brand;
  • which modifies a construction product already placed on the market in such a way that the conformity with the declaration of performance may be affected;

is deemed to be a manufacturer.

A regulation imposes a level of performance on a product

The prescriber or principal must ensure that the prescribed or chosen product complies with it.

Without specific regulations

He or she will freely choose their product based on the compatibility of the level of performance to the intended use.

The level of performance of products is established on the basis of a common European technical language, in this case harmonised technical specifications. The compatibility between the specifications and the declaration of performance is also very important.

To ensure proper compatibility of the product with the work, the principal, architect or contractor must accurately express their expectations in terms of purpose of use and level of performance of the products.

The principal, architect or contractor retains the right to choose the product best suited to their special specifications and constraints, subject to applicable legal conditions. It is likely that they will have a preference for certain products that they are used to using. However, for products whose performance is declared based on harmonised technical specifications, they will have reliable information as a basis for comparison to select the product best suited to the intended use.

A product may also have functional characteristics that are very useful to the operators.

If these characteristics are not related to the basic requirements on works, they cannot be considered as essential within the meaning of the present regulations. For example, for the user, the colour of a floor covering is an important characteristic in their selection criteria, but this characteristic is not essential under the regulations. As such, it is not covered by the latter.

Member states may decide to develop or not, in their national legislation, measures to implement the basic requirements for works.

In Belgium, regional, federal or even municipal regulations may impose specific technical specifications and town planning or architectural requirements (colours, local buildings, etc.). These prescriptions apply to all works, both private and public.

In a broader framework, the European Commission can also, through specific directives, influence good practice in the area of construction or the characteristics of specific construction products.

Knowing all regulatory provisions remains the responsibility of each prescriber and/or principal.

For more information in this respect, a Product contact point for construction was set up.

Regulation 305/2011 provides that each member state shall designate a Product Contact Point for Construction. In Belgium, in the context of administrative simplification, it was decided that this role would be fulfilled by the product contact point for mutual recognition.

Its tasks are to provide the following information:

  • national provisions (technical rules as included in Regulation 764/2008) to meet the basic requirements applicable to construction works for the intended use of each construction product (essential characteristics);
  • the contact details of the competent authorities responsible for supervising the implementation of national provisions;
  • the recourse generally available in the national territory in the event of disputes between the competent authorities and an economic operator.

It should be noted that its task is not to provide information on the implementation of Regulation 305/2011 as such, on standards and their content, and on notified bodies and technical assessment bodies.

The Product Contact Point replies within 15 working days of receipt of the request.

This service is free of charge.

How can you contact them?

FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-Employed and Energy
Directorate-General for Quality and Security
Quality and Innovation Division
NG II
Boulevard du Roi Albert II 16
1000 Brussels

Tel.: 02 277 93 47
Email: belspoc@economie.fgov.be

Last update
7 November 2019