Manufacturers, distributors and importers of construction products are legally responsible to provide a declaration of performance

Declaration of performance for construction products: Who is legally responsible anyway?

Whether you are a manufacturer who wants to sell their construction product on the European market, a distributor or an importer of such products, you might be uncertain about the legal obligations that apply to you. The Construction Products Regulation gives detailed information about the legal responsibility in the various stages of the supply chain in its Article 13.

A common scenario

In the most common scenario, a manufacturer will want to supply the EU market with his own construction product, therefore he will be required to subject the products to the standard assessments, draw up a declaration of performance and CE-mark the product. Simply issuing a declaration of performance is not the end of the legal obligation though. The document has to be supplied to the distributors, who in turn will pass it down to the various construction projects which use the product in question. The declaration of performance should also be in the language required by the member state (some countries have stern language requirements, e.g. Sweden will only accept declaration of performance in Swedish), therefore the manufacturer may be obliged to translate the document in several European languages.

To the attention of importers

While the rules for the manufacturer and distributor are rather straightforward and uncomplicated, the situation is a bit more interesting when it comes to importers of products. The importers have to take it upon themselves to affirm with total certainty that the product complies with CPR requirements, as well as make sure that the CE mark is affixed correctly to the product and all the required accompanying documentation is present and has correct content. The importer must also indicate their name or trademark and address on the product’s packaging and in the declaration of performance. In addition, if sample testing of the construction product is required, the importer has the responsibility to carry it out. Such test may be needed in order to check the accuracy of the stated information in the declaration of performance.

Changing roles

In two other cases the importer may take on the role of a manufacturer. The first one is if the importer decides to distribute a construction product solely under their own name or trademark. The other is when the importer decides to modify a construction product already placed on the market. In this situation, if the product’s performances have been influenced by the modification, the product will need to pass assessment once more, so that a new declaration of performance can be issued.