Following the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, Steve Rice, Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) technical director has stated that British companies need to be aware of what this means to our market and how we will conform to technical standards in the future.
Here, he outlines the GGF’s current technical perspective:
The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) an EU directive has been enacted into UK law in 2013. Therefore nothing will change until the government of the day make changes to replace it and enacts a new law to cover its legal requirements. The GGF does not foresee anything happening on this before 2020. So would strongly advise that companies ensure they continue to CE mark their products if they fall under a harmonised European Norm/standard (hEN).
CEN: the European Committee for Standardisation is made up of all the national standardisation bodies, i.e. BSI, DIN, AFNOR, UNI, etc., throughout Europe.
CEN’s remit is stated as follows:
“CEN is one of three European Standardization Organizations that have been officially recognized by the European Union and by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as being responsible for developing and defining voluntary standards at European level.”
The important words are ‘voluntary standards at European level”.
Therefore all of the ‘glass and glazing’, ‘window and door’ and ‘hardware’ standards are basically voluntary. They only become mandatory under EU legislation when the part containing the Annex ZA is cited in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).
As long as the CPR remains in our national legislation, compliance with the harmonised European Norms (hENs) will remain a fact of life.
All other members of the European Union will continue to follow the CPR. This will mean that any products exported from the UK to the EU will continue to be required to be CE marked. So in short, if your products are not CE marked then you will not be legally able to export to an EU country.
The production of the European standards has, for the first time, ensured a level playing field for our ‘glass and glazing’ products.
We do not believe any of UK companies would desire to return to the ‘old days’, i.e. when every country had different standard and system of compliance.
We expect that the present suite of European standards, and those to come, will be embraced by all in the industry.
Having stated what might be the obvious to some we need to inform you as to how we, the Glass and Glazing Federation, will operate in the future in this arena:
GGF technical officers will continue to be fully involved with BSI (British Standards Index) committees;
Technical officers and GGF Members will continue to be delegated as UK experts to CEN technical committees and working groups;
We will continue to put forward our views on standards when they are available for comment;
We will continue to represent the views of our membership to the standardization bodies whether at national or European level;
Through our involvement with other European Trade Associations we will continue to put the views of our members and attempt to influence the direction within the European market.
Also we will continue our involvement with the UK government to make sure that our membership is aware, at the earliest possible opportunity, of legislative changes that may influence our market.
With respect to standardisation and compliance with the CPR nothing has changed yet by the last week’s EU Referendum result and any likely changes will be several years away.
The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) will however continue to monitor this situation and keep its Members and all in the industry informed of any changes in the future.
GGF Technical Director