In December 2023, the European Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on revising the Construction Products Regulation to improve consistency and transparency. Key to the revised rule is the need to provide third-party-verified Global Warming Potential (GWP) data for all products.
What is the Construction Products Regulation?
The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) has been in place since 2011. Its goal has always been to streamline the Single Market circulation of construction products with standardized guidelines. It defines key performance areas, includes harmonized CE marking rules, and mandates Member States to enforce safety and environmental requirements.
However, the existing legislation does not adequately address sustainability and a lack of harmonization is hampering trade.
Sustainability and digital transformation are central to the revised regulation. The updated CPR addresses issues within the current standardization system and introduces new digital data requirements to boost transparency. It creates a consistent framework for evaluating the lifetime environmental impact, energy efficiency and circularity of buildings and construction materials.
The revision is part of a package of sustainability measures being delivered under the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan, including the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) and the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
Here are 3 key things to note about the revised CPR.
Carbon footprints for all construction products
Every construction product sold within the EU will need to disclose its Global Warming Potential (GWP) under the revised CPR, enabling architects, engineers, and developers to take informed decisions for their projects.
However, this is just a first step. By 2030 manufacturers will be expected to report the full range of environmental impact data contained within EN 15804-based Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
EPDs provide transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products within specific product categories.
The revised CPR boosts green public procurement
To promote the supply of and demand for environmentally sustainable construction products, the revised CPR gives the Commission the authority to establish mandatory minimum environmental sustainability requirements for the public procurement of construction products.
These regulations can extend to all contracts involving construction products, including those for construction works, allowing Member States to introduce environmental requirements.
The provisional agreement also grants Member States the flexibility to deviate from environmental requirements under certain conditions. This includes situations where applying the requirements would lead to a limited market supply, lack of suitable tenders, or disproportionate costs exceeding 10% compared to scenarios without requirements.
The updated CPR accelerates standardization
At the core of the reform is a desire to standardize the approval processes for construction products, from cement and steel to bricks and glue. Currently, these products require diverse permits for market entry in the EU.
To address the frequent delays within the standardization process, the updated CPR empowers the European Commission to step in and adopt its own technical specifications under specific conditions. This bolsters the Commission’s involvement, giving it the authority to act when needed, ensuring timely solutions and preventing roadblocks from derailing progress.
An expert group, appointed by EU member countries, is currently working to revise the existing standards for construction products, referred to as the legal “acquis” in EU terminology.
Revised CPR: what to expect next
Following the provisional agreement reached in December, the revised CPR is expected to be published in the Official Journal later this year, likely by March 2024. At this point it becomes a binding and directly applicable law for member states.
However, the current rules, including existing standards, will remain in force until 2039: a 15-year grace period following the new law’s expected publication later in 2024.
The political agreement reached today will equip constructors to be key actors of the green and digital transitions. Construction products of the future will require the extraction of fewer resources and generate less pollution and less waste, so buildings will not only shelter us from extreme climate conditions but also help fight climate change.
- Read the European Council’s official press release on the provisional agreement: Circular construction products: Council and Parliament strike provisional deal
- Follow us on LinkedIn to be the first to hear about developments in low-carbon construction
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