Athens, October 16th, 2016
The European Construction Products Regulation (CPR) No. 305/2011, by full name: Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 laying down harmonized conditions for the marketing of construction products exists since 24 April 2011. The Regulation attempts to classify for the first time on a European level, cables, as construction products in fire safety engineering terms. Several times until now the provisions of the Regulation changed, adding information or clarifying the obligations of parties involved in the classification process.
Although its implementation has been delayed several times for various reasons, at present we are in a one year transition period – since July 2016 – when classification of cables is possible. Classification has the perspective of becoming mandatory starting with 1st July 2017.
All cables marketed in the European Economic Area for which the CPR is applicablewill need henceforth to carry a CE mark in relation to their fire performance. To get a CE mark, all such cables will need to be tested and certified against the relevant harmonized European standards for fire performance. Cable characteristics that need to be tested according to EN 50575 are complex, including the reaction to fire, smoke emission, release of dangerous substances or the newly added flaming droplets. The relevant test method is an intermediate scale test described by EN 50399.
Should be noted that all European standards relevant to the fire performance of cables until now (e.g.: EN 60332-3-24, EN 60332-1, EN 61034, EN 50267) still stand and are still part of the normal type testing of cables, but also an integral part of classification testing.
Although the Regulation attempts to unify and standardize fire resistance performance of construction products across the continent, decisions about which resistance to fire class to adopt for a particular application will certainly vary between member states. Each country will decide how CPR Euroclasses will be used in construction standards or regulations.
Hellenic Cables Group has allocated significant engineering and financial resources in order to make timely preparations for the classification process in all component factories.
The Group is also committed to support customers during the transition period, by providing the required information, products positioning and even materials development.
On several of its main European markets, Hellenic Cables Group initiated briefing sessions and debates in order to make as clear as possible the changes expected from the manufacturer’s side as well as the new obligations of specifiers, importers, wholesalers and installers over the next few years.
The Group already runs an extensive analysis program using full testing gear according to the relevant standards, prioritizing generally according to commercial relevance, but also taking into account direct customer requests. The first official classifications are expected in Q4 2016, well within the coexistence period.
As per the definition in the official text of the Regulation, requirements for classification apply at present to all cables produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works (buildings and civil engineering works). This includes power distribution, final circuit wiring, control and instrumentation and data communications cables (copper and optical). Safety cables with resistance to fire properties are excluded from the classification process regarding reaction to fire. They will have to fulfill the requirements for reaction to fire and resistance to fire of new EN standards now under development and expected no later than 2017.
During the coexistence period, July 2016-July 2017, there is no obligation for manufacturers or resellers to provide CPR classification. During this period, all cable manufacturers, as also the component factories of Hellenic Cables Group will, in most cases, engage with a Notified Laboratory and/or a Notified Product Certification Body published on the EU NANDO database.
Cable wholesalers and distributors supplying into European markets will also need to ensure the manufacturers they work with are on track with this intricate and time–consuming process.
Communication between manufacturers and customers will need to be continual, in order to ensure that for each category of cables a maximum of technical information reaches both sides. Such a process will help manufacturers to prioritize correctly the classification process and customers to receive classification information without delay.
Classification becomes mandatory on 1st July 2017 so, until then, all cables marketed by Hellenic Cables Group and under the Regulation’s scope will receive CPR classification and will be carrying the corresponding CE marking. Individual declarations of performance will be issued and will be available directly or online, detailing the achieved classification.
Cablel® Hellenic Cables represents the cable production segment of Cenergy Holdings SA, and is one of the largest cable producers in Europe, manufacturing power and telecom cables as well as submarine cables for various industries, including offshore wind and power grid connections, while also undertaking the completion of turnkey power transmission and distribution projects. The Company’s production base comprises four plants in Greece and one in Bulgaria, including the submarine cables’ plant of its subsidiary, Fulgor, where the production and testing of some of the longest submarine cable lengths on a worldwide basis is empowered by the Company’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Cablel® Hellenic Cables recently implemented a EUR 120 million approx. investment plan for the manufacture of high-voltage and extra high-voltage submarine cables at Fulgor’s plant. Looking ahead, additional investments in technology and innovative cable solutions are planned, as a way of contributing to the creation of a sustainable future for its stakeholders.