An important piece of EU legislation has recently come into effect which is going to have a massive impact on window and door products and manufacturers in the UK – and if you’re not careful you could find that the amount that you have to pay for your future glazing purchases will increase.
As of 1st July 2013, it has become mandatory for all glazing products sold in the European Union to demonstrate and prove their compliance with EU performance, energy and safety regulations by being tested for and labelled with the CE mark.
The regulations are part of an EU-wide directive to harmonise standards across the 28 member countries, and windows and doors are the latest product category to come under the CE marking spotlight. The aim is to give consumers a consistent way to compare glazing products and to ensure that adequate performance and safety levels are met across the industry.
Our products – CE Compliant Since 2010
Here at Luxal we are keen supporters of the new regulations because we believe that they are a significant step forward, with benefits for both consumers and the glazing industry at large. All of the windows, doors and curtain walling we supply have been CE compliant for the last 3 years – because we know that our customers value the peace of mind that comes from purchasing tested and certified products.
All of the windows, doors and curtain walling we supply would have been CE compliant for the last 3 years…
However, not all glazing manufacturers have chosen to be compliant with this in the past and many will be unprepared for the now mandatory requirements. Many will sadly choose to ignore the new regulations and continue shipping their glazing products without CE tests or markings.
The Government here in the UK has indicated that the law will be policed and controlled by Trading Standards, and non-compliant suppliers risk a large fine and possibly a custodial sentence. Trading Standards also has the right to challenge any manufacturer’s test results to establish if a false declaration has been made. The manufacturer must then present all technical evidence to prove that their figures are correct.
What tests must be passed for CE compliance?
To be compliant, doors and windows must pass performance and durability tests – known as Initial Type Testing – which can be expensive and take several months to complete, especially if the manufacturer has a wide range of products (and of course all products that they sell in the UK and EU must go through this testing and fully pass).
Windows and doors are required to pass tests for the different performance characteristics defined by European standards – including Watertightness, Resistance to Wind, Air Permeability, Resistance to Fire, Smoke Leakage, Acoustic Performance and Thermal Transmittance (“U Value”). Some tests are mandatory, and some are optional – and there are different requirements for windows and doors. The test results of up to 7 of these characteristics must be shown on a CE label attached to the product itself, its packaging or the customer invoice.
Quality assurance starts in the factory
Manufacturers must also implement a factory control system for any of their products to be compliant and this again may take many months of planning, design and implementation depending on the size and complexity of their operation.
The factory control system put in place must ensure that any supply and material failings, anomalies and flaws in the manufacturing process are properly recorded and addressed to avoid sub-standard or poorly performing units being shipped out to customers.
The impact on aluminium window prices
The testing is independently undertaken by accredited third party specialists. Some of the testing goes beyond traditional national requirements, and higher ‘risk’ products (e.g. fire resistant) require greater involvement of third parties.
All of these requirements will inevitably combine to place a considerable financial burden on some manufacturers, and they may be forced to pass these costs on to consumers in the form of increased prices. However, we have no plans to raise our prices because we have already done all of the background work and gone through the full compliance procedure some time ago.
Make sure your supplier is CE compliant
The aim of CE marking is to harmonise the level of performance for products. It means that the manufacturer has verified that the product complies with all relevant essential requirements of the European Construction Products Directives (CPD):
- Mechanical resistance and stability
- Safety in case of fire
- Hygiene, health and the environment
- Safety in use
- Protection against noise
- Energy economy and heat retention
So make sure that any windows and doors that you buy are CE marked to know that you are buying from a reputable supplier which has gone through the testing and compliance required to reach the standards called for in the regulations.
Our commitment to our customers
At Luxal we are proud of our history and culture of pro-actively putting our customers’ first – and we will continue to stay one step ahead of the regulations coming out of Europe to ensure that we always provide the highest quality glazing products on the market.
For more information, please call us on 0203 00 22 088, or feel free to leave a comment or question below.