Regulatory changes in the manufacture and distribution of building products are relatively frequent but on 1 July 2013, the way in which construction products are sold in Europe changed significantly. Described by some as the biggest change to affect the construction industry in over a decade, it will become mandatory for manufacturers to apply CE marking to any of their products which are covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN) or European Technical Assessment (ETA).
But how will this affect installation contractors? Well it is difficult to tell. Regulations in the UK are already stringent and this development will reinforce that the right products are brought to market. That said it is rare for CE marking to be evidence enough that a product is fit for a particular purpose and responsibility lies with designers and contractors to make sure the product is right for its application.
As a result, due diligence in the application of products will still remain the priority of installers, particularly when needing to meet fire, acoustic and environmental specifications, for example, that are not covered by a standalone CE marking.
Despite this, I do think this is a positive step forward for the industry as it builds solid foundations for greater transparency in the construction sector about the use of building products. This is extremely important especially when the amount of products and different variations of products available continues to grow and diversify.
For drylining boards in particular, the sheer amount of boards available, whether specialist or multi-purpose requires careful consideration to make sure the right board is specified and installed correctly. And while the CE marking will not necessarily clarify how the board is to be used, it will better standardise and harmonise the use of boards across all different types of build, from small to large and residential to commercial, across the UK and Europe. It will also ensure the whole distribution and supply chain takes responsibility for the building products used on any particular build.
Gary Carter, UK general manager at Fermacell.