The letters ‘CE’ can be found marked on the packaging of a host of products but many are unclear as to their meaning and their significance. ‘CE’ is an abbreviation of the French phrase “Conformité Européene”, which when translated in to English means “European Conformity”. This means that anyone buying a product bearing the CE mark is assured that they meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements.
Although the marking is intended to reassure suppliers and purchasers that a product complies with relevant EU legislation, there are unfortunately rogue manufacturers who will make false claims about their product being CE marked and even go as far as applying the well-known symbol to their products and sales literature. Why? Because following the correct procedure to validate their products requires significant investment and this is one corner they choose to cut in order to save money.
CE Marking of Construction Products
Not all products that are traded on the EU market require CE Marking. However, from 1st July 2013, under the European Construction Products Regulation (CPR) 305/2011, it became mandatory for manufacturers of construction products to apply CE marking to any of their products covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN) or European Technical Assessment (ETA).
For many construction products, assessment and documentation of compliance with the directives can be carried out by the manufacturer/supplier themselves and a Declaration of Performance (DoP) issued. However, this is not the case when it comes to geotextile type products. These must have their production control assessed and approved by a Notified Body, appointed by the Secretary of State as a Factory Production Control certification body.
How to tell if a CE Mark is genuine
So, how can you tell that a supplier has been through the correct process? Firstly, ask for a copy of their Factory Production Control (FPC) certificate. This will be an official certificate issued by a Notified Body and must display the actual name/brand name of the product you are being supplied or offered. A certificate bearing anything other than the proper brand/product name, regardless of whether you’re told that it’s exactly the same product, made in the same factory as the one shown on the certificate and so on and so forth, is simply unacceptable and not proof that the correct process has been followed.
Another trick is for suppliers to send you a copy of the Technical Data Sheet (TDS) bearing the CE mark or the Declaration of Performance (DoP). Again, neither are proof that the correct process has been followed as the TDS and DoP are compiled and issued by the manufacturer/supplier themselves, without the need for involvement from a Notified Body.
Secondly, check that the organisation issuing the FPC certificate is in fact an approved Notified Body. If so, they will be listed on the official register found here: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/nando/
Why does it matter whether a product has the CE Mark?
Although the CE Mark is not an indicator of quality it goes a long way to assuring suppliers and purchasers about the product itself and its manufacturer. Product-wise you will know that a CE-marked product complies with EU legislation. Manufacturer-wise the CE Mark tells you a lot about their calibre and ethos, that they prioritise compliance and quality highly enough to invest in the costly and time-consuming process to gain the mark.
The risk of not complying lies largely with the manufacturer or importer, as they could be forced to recall products and/or remove them from sale in the marketplace.
Equally, this is now a mandatory regulation that’s been passed by the EU, meaning that anyone ignoring the correct process or falsely applying the CE mark is effectively in breach of the law.
So, ask yourself – who would you rather buy from – a manufacturer whose products are genuinely CE marked or a rogue with falsely-marked or unmarked products?
Don’t get caught out – do your due diligence and only buy geotextiles that are genuinely CE marked.
To find out more about Growtivation’s range of geotextiles download our essential guide to weed control and geotextile fabrics or view our FPC certificates for Draintex, Drivetex, Earthworx and Groundtex.
If you’re interested in stocking the Product That Works range, visit our Become A Distributor page or contact the friendly team at Growtivation for advice on 0800 197 8885 or email email@example.com.