A few random phone calls by Natural Stone Specialist magazine to readers has made it clear how unprepared at least some companies are for the implementation of CE marking of stone products next month (July).
The Construction Products Regulation from Europe requires all construction products covered by a European harmonised standard (an EN) or a European Technical Assessment (ETA) to be given a declaration of performance (DoP) and be CE marked. This move has been described as the most significant change being faced by the construction industry for a decade.
What it means is that if you make or install a product covered by a European standard – such as external or internal cladding, tiles, paving or flooring – it has to be CE marked.
If it is not, it is not likely to be used by architects, interior designers, structural or civil engineers or main contractors. They will be obliged under Building Regulations to use products that are CE marked and they are not likely to risk their reputations, let alone their professional indemnity, by ignoring the law. If your products are not CE marked they will simply use alternatives that are.
There are not harmonised standards available for all stone products. There is no standard for kitchen worktops, for example, nor fireplaces. Neither are there standards for specially made masonry for conservation work. If there is no standard there cannot be a CE mark.
But many masons will be making products that do have a standard and will need to carry a Declaration of Performance backed up by test data and carrying a CE mark.
In the stone industry, those fixing stone do not always credit the manufacturer of it when it made by another company. While specialist contractors will be able to issue CE marks, they will in future have to identify the manufacturer. And the manufacturer, whether in this country of any other, will have to assess and verify consistency of performance (ie have quality control procedures in place).
Some companies also like to give stones trading names so that other suppliers cannot easily source the same material. Trade names are not banned, but under BS EN 12440 the CE mark will have to identify the stone by its traditional name, petrological family, typical colour and place of origin.
If you are making products that require CE marks, or are intending to CE mark products that have been supplied to you, you will need to know what tests are required in the relevant standards, carry them out (or have them carried out) and include the results on the CE certificate.
It is the responsibility of the person issuing the CE mark to store the test results for 10 years and have them readily available for inspection during that time.
The CE certificate containing all the required information must be readily available for users of the product. It would normally be expected to be on the product itself or its packaging, but it does not have to be. It could even be available on a website.
There is advice on CEâ€ˆmarking from the government on its planning portal – click here to go to it.
There is advice more specifically intended for the stone industry from Stone Federation Great Britain. It launched CE Marking: A Concise Guide at its over-subscribed CE marking seminar at the Natural Stone Show at ExCeL this year. It also has produced standard Declaration of Performance forms and CE marks for its members to use.
Stone Federation has put many hours of work into its Guide, which aims to include everything you need to know about CE marking and exclude everything you don’t need to know so the information is easier to digest.
This guide is only available to Stone Federation members and those wanting to engage Stone Federation members on projects. To go to the Stone Federation website, click here.
For more about CE marking click here.