CE Marking deadline sparks fear of contractor non compliance

New CE Marking regulations will apply to surface dressing from next summer

Within highway maintenance CE Marking is being introduced for two forms of carriageway surface treatment next summer, driven by the incoming Construction Products Regulation. But the Road Surface Treatments Association has expressed fears that some contractors and local authorities may not be ready for the change.

Specialist contractors responsible for surface dressing and slurry surfacing are warned that they might not be able to continue trading next summer if the products they supply do not meet new European rules on CE Marking. The RSTA says that not every contractor it has spoken to is aware that only CE Marked products can be used on many highway renewal schemes in the UK from next July – and is worried that some may fall foul of the new legislation.

“We have been telling our members about the new incoming regulations for the last 18 months and many are in the process of achieving the necessary paperwork,” says RSTA chief executive Howard Robinson. “But my big worry is that some companies recently expressed surprise when they learnt what is involved and what they need to do.”

The first question which highway maintenance companies need to ask themselves, Dr Robinson says, is ‘do I need to be CE Marked next July?’, because the legislation does not affect everyone. It applies to surface dressing and slurry surfacing products but does not affect high friction surfacing, geosynthetic and steel mesh applications and other specialist treatment systems not covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN).

Dr Robinson adds that CE Marking applies to products regulated by a hEN, so companies will need to issue a CE marked Certificate for each surface dressing or slurry surfacing product showing a Declaration of Performance in accordance with the requirements of the relevant standard. He also points out that it is only contractors who place a product on the market or take responsibility for the design and end performance of a highway treatment who are affected by the change. Those who only carry out works to a client’s specification should not be affected.

Some specialist contractors involved in road surface treatments also offer proprietary products which are not regulated by a hEN and are therefore not required to carry a CE mark nor have a BBA HAPAS certificate. It would seem sensible, Dr Robinson adds, for companies that fall into this category, to check with the relevant highway authorities to make sure their proprietary products will not be squeezed out of the market next year as public procurement bodies are meant to give priority to purchasing products carrying a CE mark.

To obtain a timely CE Mark for their products, surface dressing and slurry surfacing contractors will have to complete a one year TAIT, or ‘type approval installation trial’ well ahead of next July if they are to continue trading legally after 1 July 2013. They will also need to have in place a satisfactory Factory Production Control system that meets the requirements of the relevant hEN and operate a quality management system such as BSEN ISO 9001 and finally to be audited by a notified body accredited by UKAS.

Time is running out for those companies who have yet to meet the CE Marking standards. “They need to be well on with completing their TAITs by now as these take 12 months to complete,” Dr Robinson says, “and we are not yet sure what would happen if a contract is signed before 1 July 2013 by a contractor who doesn’t have a CE Mark. Would he be allowed to carry on working while they strive towards achieving CE Marking?

“Out of the 80 RSTA member organisations, we have 28 members involved with installing surface dressing and slurry surfacing products and I hope that all of them are aware and prepared in time for CE Marking,” he adds. “But to what extent is the broader highway maintenance community aware of the changes coming next July, and who is advising them? I am not so sure. I fear that there is a general lack of awareness of CE Marking across the sector and some companies and authorities will be caught out next summer.”

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