ARGE
18-10-2012

Review of the Lectures of the ARGE 60th Conference

The lectures took place this year on a cruise ship sailing from Finland to Sweden.  The themes of the lectures were on Sustainability and The Construction Products Regulations.

The guest speakers were both from Scandinavia. (Scandinavia itself being the relevant place to hold these lectures, due to the fact they have always placed a high priority on environment and sustainability.)

The first speaker Mr Matti Virtanen is from Finland.  He is a building Counsellor from the Finish Environmental Ministry.  His lecture on: Construction Products Regulations (CPR) – New Rules, Old Targets, Rising Standards.

Our Finnish Chairman, Jorma Sirén , regularly meets with Virtanen to discuss CPR regarding the Lock and Hardware Industry.

Virtenan’s lecture raised the following points:-

That there will be the mandatory use of harmonised products with CE Markings. And if the product does not belong to the scope of harmonised standard, then manufacturers can apply for European Technical Approval (ETA).

That it is for member states to decide how to implement harmonised products, and to make amendments.

Virtenan began by saying ‘Regulations are never finished – they need to evolve!  And because of this we find ourselves open to many interpretations.’  He added ‘In some countries, CE Marking isn’t mandatory.  In other countries implementation is unclear; there may be a lack of understanding.  Or, indeed, an unwillingness to modify their own regulations.  And consequentially, steps need to be taken to change from CDP to CPR by July 2013.’

The six essential basic requirements for construction works remains the same, but with the new addition of a seventh, which is: Sustainable use of natural resources.

Virtenan’s presentation also covered the Mandatory Declaration of Performance (DoP) and how important it is for the manufacturers to understand how to proceed with the principle of the CPR.

His lecture ended in a lively debate over conformity and the new sustainability rules, which we intend to make a topic on the Frequently Asked Question pages of the ARGE website.

A download of Matti Virtanen is available on our new ARGE website download page

The second speaker at ARGE’s 60th Conference, Ms Sara Elfving is from the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning.  She gave her lecture on: The Sustainability of Products – an important step in Green Buildings.  This lecture followed seamlessly from Virtanen’s lecture to describe the seventh essential requirement.

Sara recapped on the Construction Products Regulation and the current state of standardisation reiterating Virtenan’s ‘pathway to harmonised standards, and to sustainability information used in the Declaration of Performance.

‘Environmental Products Declaration (EPD)’ Elfving explained, ‘is a tool to describe the environmental impact used in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data for a product.  The EPD is based on product rules.’  Elfving emphasised ‘An EPD is not a requirement, but an opportunity

During the Question and Answer period one of the questions raised was: “Can ARGE influence via lobbying the CPR regarding the Mandate?”  Elfving answered “Yes, it could be possible if Nations work together.  ARGE functions as a ‘multi-national force’.  And, therefore, as members of ARGE you are in a good position to lobby on behalf of your 15 National Associations.”  

Sara Elfving’s lecture is available is available on our new ARGE website download page

The lectures were appreciated for the relevance to the current climate changes within the industry’s regulations.  The views of the members are reflected in a the following quote by Hans Weissenboeck.  ‘It is important that ARGE deals actively with these subjects on Construction Product Regulation and Environmental Product Declaration, as our industry is challenged already in both these matters.  And will, no doubt, be ever more so in the unforeseeable future.’