The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) is a mandatory regulatory system that makes it possible to compare the properties of different products. All manufacturers and distributors that supply building products to European Economic Area fall under CPR and its requirements.
CPR regulations for ‘reaction to fire requirements’ now also extend to cabling products. Each EU member state has to define the minimum fire class required for the different applications, which means requirements can differ significantly throughout Europe. Several organizations have published recommendations of their own. In some cases, these are significantly higher than the legal minimum requirement.
A one-year transition period ends on July 1, 2017 and from then on cables installed permanently in construction works must meet European Standard EN 50575:2014. All cabling products must be tested and labeled to indicate their fire behavior. Manufacturers must have their cables tested and certified by a Notified Body accredited by the EC. This includes pre-assembled cabling links intended to remain in the building permanently.
The aim is to unify products’ fire protection levels to better protect people in buildings from the effects of a fire in an emergency. Only products which have been awarded European Classification under the new standard can be sold in the EU. Contractors and installers, consultants, architects, building owners, specifiers and other parties need to include the new regulations in their tender books and specifications.
Fire behavior of cables: classification
- Main criterion: Flame propagation and heat release (EN 60332-1, EN 50399)
- Additional criteria: Smoke production (EN 50399, EN 61034-2), corrosivity (EN 50267-2-3) and flaming droplets (EN 50399)
- EN 13501-6 defines the combinations in which the above test criteria may occur. The harmonized standard EN 50575 ultimately defines how the CPR is to be implemented for cabling and specifies the new fire protection classes.
Declaration of Performance
Once cables have been assessed and approved according to these systems, manufacturers may draw up a Declaration of Performance (DoP) indicating CPR compliance. This mandatory document is made publicly available. The DoP has to contain a unique reference number and cable type description, its Euroclass and s/a/d classifications according to EN 50575 and the ID number of the Notified Body responsible for testing.
This information and the CE mark need to be visible on the drum or box containing the cable. It is also permitted, although not mandatory, to include CPR information on the cable sheath. Cables currently in stock that were produced before these regulations came into force may still be sold. There is no change to products with existing part numbers. It is advisable to ask suppliers whether their entire range meets European and international regulations for safety, fire and health. When it doubt, do not hesitate to consult an expert.