In Europe, you see a transformation occur in the construction products of an unregulated situation to CE marking. This is a process that ultimately will last a long time and we are now in the middle of it. Finally, all parties, clients and contractors are aware of their role.
But what is the value of a CE marking?
A lot, for at least the client. Products are tested and evaluated at a testing institute. Because there are usually high demands through a product standard for a product, the product is normally getting better. Think of wear resistance and susceptibility to malfunction of construction products.
The organization of the supplier and its production process are also included in the assessment. If a production process is validated insufficient, a manufacturer would never obtain a CE certificate. Only doing your best during an annual inspection won’t work either because there will be an annual inspection of the production process.
In particular, the manner in which deviations are handled is accurately included within CE marking. A manufacturer of CE certified products has to continually do his best to perform optimally. This is directly in favor of the end user, so especially the end user has a strong interest in CE certified products.
‘This awareness is currently insufficient existent’
The best supplier is very often not the cheapest. In a market situation where a transformation occurs, there are parties who are strongly determined to sell their non-certified products. Therefore it looks attractive to buy a system for a low price, but ultimately the client is still the one responsible.
A non-certified product must not be used and it may happen that a third party, such as a fire department or an insurance company, imposes to remove the installation. The question is then whether a bad bargain is dear at a farthing. The supplier is usually not being the one who is responsible and at last the client has duty to investigate. This can be an interesting discussion in a legal conflict.
Also for the manufacturer, usually the contractor, the CE marking has purposes. A CE program asks a lot from the organization. It should be result-oriented work and there is an awareness taking place in failings of the organization on a number of points. Awareness makes people act proactively which, eventually, will lead to better production and delivering a better product.
Another advantage is that not every manufacturer will follow the CE program, so a number of parties will eventually get excluded. This process is done in every market and so it also will happen in the fire-security market.
‘A manufacturer that takes its business seriously has therefore all interest in achieving a CE certificate. In the competitive atmosphere he will eventually only encounter professionals and this will ultimately bring benefits’
What is the role of CE for insurance companies?
An insurer may, in case of a claim, wonder if he needs to pay if an installation does not have a CE mark. Precisely CE marking is ensuring the quality of a product. A product that has not worked properly in an emergency situation, and finally an evacuation system is only active in an emergency, can yield interesting discussions during a legal dispute. It is waiting for the moment when this realization occurs at insurers.
Especially the claim culture, which at this moment is in full development, requires parties to think about this seriously. Especially insurers will have to investigate more often whether a claim is justified and by counter-expertise, decisions are going to be extremely disadvantageous for clients in the future. Freely translated, ultimately it will be costly for the client if things are not properly regulated.
With this in mind, it is important for users to arrange this well. CE marking must ultimately be fully accepted and will be considered an integral part of a product.