Standardisation: The European Parliament holds hearings on the Construction Products Regulation

With the discussions on the revision of the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) ongoing, the European Parliament organised two hearings in October, where MEPs discussed the Commission proposal with relevant stakeholders. Moreover, on September 29, the Environment Committee (ENVI) in the European Parliament published its draft opinion on the Commission proposal.

The most recent hearing on the CPR was held on 12 October by the EPP Group and the MEPs Christian Döleschal (EPP, Germany), Dr. Andreas Schwab (EPP, Germany), Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) and Pascal Arimont (EPP, Belgium). Here, the discussants were interested to explore how the ambitions set by the Commission can be met while enabling the construction sector to grow. The need of limiting the administrative burdens on SMEs was on the spotlight. As such, the stakeholders insisted on the clarification of the simplified procedures and the reintroduction of “sharing” procedures. Moreover, the speakers requested a clarification on the status of the European Assessment Documents (EADs), to allow them to be used as the tool for innovation in the construction industry.

The first public hearing, organised by the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) on 10 October, focused on implementation problems with the current CPR and the sustainability requirements included in the revision proposal. Starting with an introduction of the proposal by the Commission, the main problem reported was the delays on the citation of standards. The proposal of the Commission to resolve them with the use of delegated acts raised some concerns to the experts, who requested them to be used only in exceptional cases and to be based on the cooperation between the institutions and the relevant stakeholders. In addition, environmental actors and practitioners commented on the achievement of the ambitions on the sustainability requirements, focusing on the prospects for recyclability of construction products.

Finally, ENVI Rapporteur MEP Sara Matthieu (Greens, Belgium) published her report late September. Among others, she suggests that the empowerments of the Commission to develop delegated acts are expanded so as to being enabled to set up environmental requirements, as well as mandatory thresholds for construction products. Moreover, she proposes the establishment of a working plan for the development of detailed environmental requirements and sets the target that after ten years all construction products shall fall under the two highest environmental classes established. Finally, she insists that the use of bio-based construction products needs to be encouraged. The ENVI committee is an associated committee and has both special competencies for Article 22 and shared competences for other articles of the Commission proposal.

EBC is closely monitoring the process and contributing to the discussion in collaboration with Small Business Standards SBS, so that the concerns and requests of the micro, small and medium-sized companies of the construction sector are considered and reflected in this major legislative vehicle for the sector.

Read the Joint SBS-EBC position paper on the CPR here.