What Is European Union Construction Products Regulation?
What is CPR?
European Union Directive 305/2011 Construction Products Regulations aims to harmonize the mechanical resistance and stability of products used in the construction of buildings across Europe. The regulations cover all products used in the permanent construction of a building, such as windows, doors, timbers, building cladding and now includes cabling as well.
Topics addressed by the directive include:
- Safety in case of fire
- Hygiene health and the environment
- Safety and accessibility in use
- Protection against noise
- Energy economy and heat retention
- Sustainable use of natural resources
Video: UL Listing and CE Marking: What's the Difference?
How does it affect cabling?
For cables, the CPR legislation relates to safety in the case of fire and brings cables into line with other building materials.
The CPR requirements for cables went into effect July 1, 2017, and apply to any cables that are “placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works” for the first time after this date. This means that old stocks held in European warehouses prior to July 1, 2017, can still be offered for sale. However, any stocks received after July 1, 2017, must carry the CE mark and supporting documentation to be legally sold in Europe. The regulation covers the fire performance of power, control and communication cables, including both copper and optical fiber.
To be sold in Europe, cables must be classified and CE marked as conformant to a Euroclass. A declaration of performance (DoP) must also be available for the cable. This means that cables Anixter may have sold in the past with CM, CMR, CMP, LSZH, OFR, OFNR, OFP or OFNP ratings can no longer be legally imported and sold in Europe.
The main classification of cables runs from Aca to Fca, with Aca being the least reactive to fire. But there are also additional criteria called out for smoke production, flaming droplets and acidity for cable classes B1ca, B2ca, Cca and Dca, as well as a more stringent, larger scale test using bundled cable.
Smoke production is rated on a sliding scale from s1a to s3, where s1 is the most demanding classification and s3 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of s1 or s2.
Flaming droplets is similarly rated from d0 to d2, where d0 is the most demanding and d2 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of d0 or d1.
Acidity is also rated on sliding scale from a1 to a3, where a1 is the most demanding criteria and a3 is for products where no performance is declared or which do not comply with the requirements of a1 or a2.
For example, a full CPR description would be Cca, s1, d2, a1.
Certification and Declaration of Performance
Each cable intended for permanent installation within a building must have a declaration of performance that must be freely available, either electronically or hardcopy. The DoP states the Euroclass performance of the cable and references the Notified Body (independent test house) that has verified this determination. The manufacturer then ensures ongoing compliance through factory production control (FPC).
For Euroclass Cca and higher, there are additional requirements for the manufacturer and Notified Body. The manufacturer must perform ongoing sample testing of the cable. The Notified Body must also carry out an initial inspection of the manufacturing plant and FPC, ongoing assessment of the FPC and audit testing of the cable. Understandably, this has an impact on the production cost of the Cca and above cables and is reflected in the price of the product.
Which products are included under CPR?
CPR regulations cover cables the are designed to be permanently incorporated into the building structure, whether terminated after pulling or pre-terminated. It does not cover patch cord assemblies (whether accessible or not), patch panels, racks, cabinets and raceways, although these may be subject to other local and European regulations.
This leaves us with a question around fiber trunk cables, which—it could be argued—are just long patch cables. While the cable assembly isn’t specifically covered by CPR, the cable used to make up the fiber trunk is, so a DoP for the cable used to make the trunk should be available from the manufacturer.
Do the same regulations apply to all of Europe?
CPR is a European directive covering all of Europe, but that does not mean that each of the 28 member states has adopted the same criteria when specifying which class of cable is required in what type of building/construction. There is a great deal of variability among the member states, but at least we are now comparing like with like for fire performance. This table summarizes, by country, where the position is clear. Some countries have yet to issue guidance and, therefore, this table is incomplete.
Click here to view the CPR requirements for each of the 28 EU member states.
What is your responsibility?
The actual requirements for CPR within any given country should always be checked with the local authority having jurisdiction prior to making recommendations, but each party throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to end user, has a responsibility to ensure CPR compliance. They can do so by following the steps below:
- Make a declaration of conformity/performance stating the Euroclass grading of the product
- Add the CE marking to the product
- Keep documentation for 10 years
- Contingent on the product's Euroclass ranking, the manufacturer may need to monitor the product per any new requirements of AVCP rules
- Ensure a product is identifiable, and that its packaging provides contact and safety information in all of the appropriate languages.
- Ensure that a product is compliant and have documentation to prove it
- Check that instructions and safety information are in the correct language of the market in which it is being sold
- Confirm that the manufacturer has identified the product and included visible contact information
- If storing or moving products, the methods used cannot compromise its compliance.
INTEGRATORS AND END USERS
- Reference the harmonized technical specifications and requirements of individual characteristics when drafting the project specs
- Check the manufacturer's declaration of conformity/performance, as well as national annexes or standard recommendations for assistance with appropriate minimum product performance levels
- Be vigilant about complying with local building regulations.
For further information, please contact your local Anixter sales team. We have engineers on staff who can provide guidance and assistance with selecting the correct Euroclass cable to meet your customers’ demands.
For detailed information on the CPR and its rules for marketing construction products in the EU, please visit www.ec.europa.eu.