In the European Union, “construction works” are defined as “all building and civil engineering works”. The CE Construction Products Regulation (CPR), which replaced the Construction Products Directive, contains the “basic requirements” for construction works as a whole and in their materials and assemblies.
As stated in Annex I of the Construction Products Regulation, construction works must be designed and built to achieve the following basic requirements. For construction materials, manufacturers should consider which of these elements apply based on the material’s specified use and intended applications. Understanding these basic requirements can help manufacturers of construction products better understand the requirements, tests, and essential characteristics specified in the harmonized standards.
I. Mechanical Resistance & Stability: Loading during construction and use should not lead to:
- Collapse of the whole or part of the work;
- Major deformations to an inadmissible degree;
- Damage to other parts of the construction works or to fittings or installed equipment as a result of major deformation of the load-bearing construction;
- Damage by an event to an extent disproportionate to the original cause.
II. Safety in Case of Fire: In the event of an outbreak of fire:
- The load bearing capacity of the construction can be assumed for a specific period of time;
- The generation and spread of fire and smoke within the construction works are limited;
- The spread of fire to neighboring construction works is limited;
- Occupants can leave the construction works or be rescued by other means;
- The safety of rescue teams is taken into consideration.
III. Hygiene, Health, & the Environment: Throughout their life cycle, construction works must not be a threat to the hygiene or health and safety of workers, occupants or neighbors nor have exceedingly high impact on the environmental quality or the climate during their construction, use, and demolition as a result of any of the following:
- The giving-off of toxic gas;
- The emission of dangerous substances, volatile organic compounds (VOC), greenhouse gases, or dangerous particles into indoor or outdoor air;
- The emission of dangerous radiation;
- The release of dangerous substances into ground water, marine waters, surface waters, or soil;
- The release of dangerous substances into drinking water or substances which have an otherwise negative impact on drinking water;
- Faulty discharge of waste water, emission of flue gases, or faulty disposal of solid or liquid waste;
- Dampness in parts of the construction works or on surfaces within the construction works.
IV: Safety & Accessibility in Use: Construction works must be designed and built in such a way that they do not present unacceptable risk of accidents or damage in service or in operation such as slipping, falling, collision, burns, electrocution, injury from explosion, and burglaries. In particular, accessibility and use for disabled persons must be considered.
V: Protection against Noise: Noise perceived by the occupants or people nearby must be kept to a level that will not threaten their health and allow them to sleep, rest, and work in satisfactory conditions.
VI: Energy Economy & 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 is low, when account is taken of the occupants and of the climatic conditions of the location. Construction works must also be energy-efficient, using as little energy as possible during their construction and dismantling.
VII: Sustainable use of Natural Resources: Construction works must be designed, built, and dismantled in such a way that the use of natural resources is sustainable and in particular, ensure the following:
- Reuse or recyclability of the construction works, their materials and parts after demolition;
- Durability of construction works;
- Use of environmentally compatible raw and secondary materials.
The European Union requires that all construction products comply with the CE Construction Products Regulation before being offered for sale in the EU. By compliance with the harmonized standards under the CPR, construction products demonstrate compliance with performance requirements that seek to achieve the above objectives based on the product’s intended use and applications. In addition, construction products that comply with the CPR include details on intended use and application as well as performance data to help construction works designers insure their projects are designed and built to achieve these objectives.
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