Statutory requirements, standards and CE marking
Directives, common European standards and a shared labelling scheme have been introduced to facilitate trade within and to Europe. The directives are a type of legislation that the member states are obliged to comply with. European standards replace the national ones and the labelling system which carries the symbol CE replaces national labelling schemes. The letters CE are an abbreviation of Conformité Européenne (European Conformity).
The basic requirements for most wood products are set out in the Construction Products Directive and, since 1 July 2013, the Construction Products Regulation, which specifies that the CE mark is mandatory. There are several different types of standards.
It should be stressed that the CE mark is not a quality label. It simply means that the performance values declared for the product have been drawn up in line with a common European standard. Performance may be declared, as happens with construction timber, as class designations C18, C24 and C30, or following the system for windows, with values for impact resistance and other properties, for example.
CE marking ensures that the product can be carried over the border to another country within the European Economic Area (EEA), but does not guarantee that the product can be used in that particular country. Here, national building relations play a key role, as they determine the level of product performance that applies in each case.