CE Marking Structural Steel

// the building envelope

EN1090 Construction Product Regulation: Patricia Powell and Julian Blackmore of WLP explain the legislation and why your building may be at risk of non-compliance.

Introduced by Law for Compliance since July 2014, the EN1090 Standard applies to:

  • Manufacturers of metal components or kits that have a structural use in a building or civil engineering works where the performance of its essential characteristics has an effect on the performance of the building or engineering works
  • Importers of structural metalwork kits or components
  • Stockholders and metal processors that modify stock – e.g. by drilling, painting, bending, electroplating etc.

For the purposes of this article we concentrate on the Manufacture of metal components.

What is CE Marking according to EN1090?

CE Marking indicates a steel product’s compliance with the required legislation. By affixing the CE Marking on a product a manufacturer is declaring, on their sole responsibility, conformity with all of the legal requirements and the products ability to perform the purpose for which it was designed or constructed.

This applies, for example, to a steel beam integrated into a building for an extension, Juliet balcony, some railings, a staircase or any steel framed buildings, bridges, theatres etc.

How can we be sure that builders use a reputable source for their steel products?

All Manufacturers must provide a Declaration of Performance (DoP) - in effect a certificate of compliance – to say that their product is “fit for purpose”. If not then it means that the Manufacturer is trading illegally, voiding product insurance.

However, the role of the builder or “distributor” is often forgotten – by taking the steel product to market there is a duty under the legislation to ensure that it is withdrawn if it does not comply with the legislation – if it presents a risk then distributors must also notify the relevant authorities and details of corrective measures are fully reported.

Why aren’t all Steel Manufacturers (and Distributors) complying with the legislation?

It’s true to say that, generally, the legislation was not well communicated at the outset. However, there are still some steel manufacturers, (usually smaller ones) which know they should be CE Marking their products, but in order to cut costs are adopting the attitude that they will put off doing anything about it until somebody asks for it. The usual comment we hear is “We’ve never been asked for it, so we’ll wait until we are!”

Perhaps most importantly, Distributors (including builders) are either not fully informed or aware of the need for compliance with the legislation. They may be unaware of the serious consequences – the failure of the structure with potential consequence to life and lack of product insurance.

Who should be making sure your building is safe when the manufacturer or the distributor do not comply with the Law?

The responsibility for this lies with Trading Standards and the HSE would also become involved after a catastrophic structural failure – such is the case following the death of a lady in Norfolk following the failure of a steel gate. But this is all “after the event “.

Whilst there is no requirement for Local Council Building Control to act to enforce this legislation, it seems inconceivable that despite being aware of the requirement of the Law, they do not consider it part of their remit to ensure that the structures are fit for purpose and safe. This could be easily achieved by way of a simple tick box on the building inspector’s form to request a Declaration of Performance for any structural metal components. If the DoP cannot be produced then the building cannot be considered fit for purpose, which will likely affect insurance. Ensuring structural steel and aluminium components are CE Marked could prevent a catastrophic failure.

Whether you’re a home owner, distributor, builder or manufacturer, contact us about how you can ensure your building or steel product meets the requirements of the Law.

For more information please email enquiry@w-l-p.co.uk, visit www.w-l-p.co.uk or call 0345 241 0613.

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