SBS seminar in Riga takes a sectorial look at the benefits of standardisation for SMEs

As part of the outreach and information efforts of its work-programme, SBS held the second national seminar on SMEs in standardisation on 4 June in Riga. More than 30 entrepreneurs met to hear and discuss about the way standards are developed and benefit SMEs, the interactions between the national and European systems as well as the importance of taking into account SMEs’ needs when drafting standards.
As usual for this type of seminars, the event was organized on behalf of SBS by a national SME association. In this case, EBC member Latvian Builders Association LBA hosted the meeting in cooperation with the Latvian Standardisation Bureau LVS and the Latvian Ministry of Economics. In addition, the seminar was part of the official programme of the Latvian EU Presidency for the Construction week.
For these reasons and in order to appeal to the participants, the seminar addressed the discussion from a specific sectorial perspective, touching issues such as the implementation of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), the sustainable buildings debate and the contribution of standardisation and the implementation in the Baltic countries of the Eurocodes. 
Chaired by LBA President Normund GRINBERGS, the meeting was opened by Mr. Hein BOLLENS, Deputy Head of Unit at the European Commission. After saluting the good work of SBS and welcoming the organisation of this SME side-event to the Standardisation Summit, he made it clear that the framework created by EU Regulation 1025/2012 on standards is the solid legal basis for the recognition of the role of SBS in the standard making process. 
He was followed by a general overview of the SMEs position towards the economic importance of standardisation by UEAPME Secretary General Peter FAROSS, who also explained the concrete role of SBS in the system and the way SBS relies on national members for joint efforts. 
The Director of the Latvian Standardisation Bureau, Mr. PILMANIS, presented the role of LVS and of the national mirror committees, by inviting construction entrepreneurs and LBA to be involved in the national debate on European standards. He added that an increased participation by SMEs is possible thanks to an ad-hoc consultation website, which is one of the national pilot websites launched within the CEN-CENELEC project on online commenting platforms. 
The sectorial approach was presented by the EBC Secretary General with some remarks on the current debates taking place in Brussels on the implementation of the CPR and on the recent success by SBS in introducing concrete simplification for micro-enterprises in the template for future harmonised standards on construction products. 
The morning was concluded by two technical contributions on sustainability in construction products by TC 350 Chairman Mr. ILOMÄKI and by Prof. GAILE who presented the added-value of implementing the Eurocodes in the Baltic countries as the best way to design buildings and structures. The audience reacted to the presentations by raising familiar questions for the SME community, such as the availability of standards in the national language as well as the importance of precise and relevant standards’ abstracts in order to identify the proper standard to be bought.