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'Unaware' engineers risk specifying wrong product

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ENGINEERS RISK specifying inadequate construction products because they are unaware of changes in British certification procedures, a leading industry safety body said last week.

A 'clear definitive guide' to the introduction of the European CE mark is urgently needed.

The infl ential joint ICE/ IStructE Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) called for the guidance in its 15th biennial report, published on its website last Friday.

SCOSS secretary John Carpenter told NCE: 'Most engineers are unaware that this major change in the way products are certifi ated is taking place.

'CE marking under the Construction Products Directive will be appearing on hundreds of products over the next few years and the specifi er just isn't ready for this.' At the moment CE marking is not mandatory in the UK as it is in all but four EU member countries, but in many key sectors it is a commercial necessity.

European standards drafting body CEN plans to produce around 500 harmonised product standards, which will form the basis of the CE marking system.

More than 200 have already been published, and a range of key products such as cement and precast concrete elements can now carry CE marks.

'Producers are generally well up to speed, but specifiers often don't understand the key differences between CE marking and existing UK third party product certifi ion schemes, ' Carpenter added.

Construction Products Association industry affairs director John Tebbit said CE marks gave different degrees of assurance of performance depending on how detailed the relevant harmonised standard is.

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