CEOC News Article
       Construction and Infrastructure 23/11/2010
Clear labelling for hazardous substances in construction products

Construction products containing hazardous substances should be clearly labelled as such, to ensure a high standard of health and safety protection for construction workers, said the Internal Market Committee in a Monday evening vote on a proposal to update current EU rules on the marketing of construction products.

Construction products containing hazardous substances should be labelled as such, given that the construction industry is still one of the most dangerous to work in, says the committee, in a co-decision report by Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK), on a proposal to harmonise construction product marketing rules EU-wide.


REACH and beyond?


Under the new regulation, the "declaration of performance", already required for every construction product, would have to include the hazardous substance information that is required by the 2006 REACH Regulation, so as to make the contents clear to all potential users, says the committee.


Three years after the regulation enters into force, the European Commission would have to "assess the specific needs for information on the content of hazardous substances of construction products, with a view to possibly extending the information obligation" to other substances, says the committee, adding that the Commission report would have to be accompanied by any appropriate legislative proposals.


The committee also stresses the need to protect the environment and promote recycling of construction products, in line with existing EU directives and regulations, in order meet EU climate change targets.


Making life simpler for small firms


The proposed regulation aims to simplify, update and replace the current rules in order to remove all remaining regulatory and technical obstacles to the free movement of construction products within the European Economic Area, and at the same time to cut red tape and enhance transparency.


Some committee amendments aim to ensure transparency and avoid conflicts of interests as regards the technical bodies involved in the procedures laid down by the regulation. The various stakeholders involved in developing harmonised standards must be represented in a fair and balanced manner in all instances, say MEPs.


Micro-companies making construction products could choose to use new simplified performance assessment procedures, provided that they can demonstrate that their products comply with requirements by methods equivalent to those laid down in harmonised standards. The committee backed plans to establish product-specific "contact points" to provide information, "using transparent and understandable terms", as to which requirements apply.


"I'm delighted that the construction industry now has a solid, workable regulation for the foreseeable future", said Parliament's rapporteur Catherine Stihler (S&D, UK), adding that "I'm confident that the improvements in CE marking, transparency, and rules for smaller companies, whilst retaining the highest standards of safety, will give the construction industry the reassurance it needs in the current economic climate". 


Next steps


Parliament and the Council will now begin informal three-way negotiations with a view to reaching a second reading agreement on the new regulation. Any text agreed in these negotiations would then have to be approved by both institutions, and in Parliament's case, endorsed in plenary session.