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CE marking further explained

CE stands for ‘Conformité Européenne’. The base is a European trade agreement. However, to ensure the equality in trading you will have to specify transboundary. Therefore the name Conformité is used. The objectives within the European Union is that it must be possible to trade goods within the union where the similar products are of the same quality.

There should be no discussions about the specifications. To set specifications, we need to follow standards and guidelines. Standards have official status and so this is always preferred when clarity is the starting point.

A CE mark can have different states regarding certification. This varies from state 1+, this is the most strict requirement, to a state 4 in which a manufacturer’s declaration is sufficient.

See table below.

Level of   conformity (CE)

1+

1

2++

2+

2

3

4*

Certificate

p

p

Manufacturer declaration

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

Initial Type Testing (ITT)

p

p

¦

¦

¦

p

¦

Testing of production test samples

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

Research samples in the factory or market

p

Quality Assurance of the production process

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

¦

Quality Assurance of the production process(FPC)

p

p

p

p

p

Factory acceptance test

p

p

p

p

p

Continuous monitoring of quality

p

p  Notified  Body
¦ 
 Manufacturer
+  Additional measures are possible, the producer remains responsible for decisions.
*   At level 4, the certificate of conformity is issued by the manufacturer without supervision.

‘Within CE marking products are classified. Many products belong to the category Construction’

At an early stage, they started the certification of construction-related products in Europe. The construction is an outstanding activity that works across borders and therefore benefits can be achieved directly, just think of quality and price advantages. The section Construction is the so-called 89/106 Directive. Many products are covered by this Directive, as well as the products belonging to the heading Fire Security, so this also applies to evacuation systems.

This classification of products is done in mutual arrangement within the Union by the Member States. Already in the 90s, they started scaling of products under a product standard. Thus, the assessment did not remain non-committal.

In applications, certain products are required and in an application of a product there is a standard regarding the application and thus, the requirements according to the standard are in force. It works in this order. This CE marking also became an obligation, ergo CE marking has now become a part of the legislation. Therefore, a CE has received a fundamentally different status.

In the appendix of a standard, you can find a so-called Annex ZA which indicates whether the standard in question belongs to a CE mandate. In case it is, you are obliged to meet all the requirements. Depending on the class (see table) it will be determined what the obligations are. Evacuation centers for example are in Class 1. Not 1+ because samples of the production process do not have to be tested.

‘The basis is that an accredited institution has sufficient knowledge and capabilities to perform an inspection’

This institution gets certified and therefore accredited to perform such tasks. An accredited institution is assessed within the European Union according to a specific product standard to be able to perform inspections and accordingly to issue a certificate. On the website of the EU you can find per standard which institution may perform a test according to this standard. A CE marking can take place in each Member State. A Dutch manufacturer, for example, can have the inspection being done by an accredited institution in Poland.  Therefore the certificate should be accepted in all Member States.

As stated earlier, there are some standards applicable during the testing of an evacuation system. The international standards set for Fire Security are the EN54 standards. For evacuation centers the following standards apply:

EN54-1:
General and descriptive of all standards within the EN54 series

EN54-4:
Power supplies. Each system includes power systems, and especially emergency power supplies.  The EN54-4 standard is a good product standard and could be applied in many other fields.

EN54-16:
Evacuation centers. All requirements and assumptions including its variables are described in this standard. In particular, EN54-16 describes the applied power supply must meet the requirements of EN54-4. If the power system used in an evacuation system is not approved after testing, the testing institute will never issue a certificate for the evacuation centrals.

EN54-17:
If the evacuation central works with speaker loop systems, there will be used so-called isolators. The isolator must comply with the requirements of EN54-17.

EN54-24:
The speakers used in an evacuation system must comply with the minimum requirements as set out in the standard EN54-24.

It has already been mentioned, CE marking has become mandatory, since July 1 2013. This has quite an impact on the market and the different parties. Within the law is determined whether an object requires a evacuation system. This is set out in the Building Act and the Building Act has by Ministerial Decree become law.

‘If products are used which must comply with a product standard and that product standard is covered by a CE mandate then there are obligations’

–      The client has the obligation to determine whether a CE regulation applies. So the client has an obligation to investigate.

–      The contractor is obliged to deliver exclusively CE approved products when a CE certificate is required.

There is clearly a set of requirements for professional contractors but also for clients. In practice, it appears that in transition to CE marking a lot of mistakes are made in systems choices regularly and the market is anticipating insufficient. If the awareness takes place, this will eventually not happen anymore.

Besides, the delivery of non-CE-certified products which should comply with the product standards, is criminally determined.

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