AgBB specification and DIBt regulation
Germany published restrictions of VOC emissions from construction products.
The background to this is the EU Construction Products Regulation, requiring that no construction product should cause any harm to the occupants of a building. As the EU did not specifically detail this requirement, national regulations may interpret this differently.
A German task force of public health authorities, the AgBB, presented an approach for implementing this part of the EU directive. The AgBB used and updated an earlier project on assessment of emissions from carpets (ECA no. 18), for producing its AgBB specifications.
German DIBt institute in Berlin, a public agency for construction products, used this approach for implementing an approval system for several construction products installed in regularly occupied interior spaces, based on documentation of low VOC emissions :
- Floor coverings (EN 14041, EN 14342), DIBt group #156
- Liquid floor coatings (EN 13813), DIBt group #156
- Sport floorings (EN 14904), DIBt group #154
- Combined floorings, DIBt group #150
- Coatings for floor coverings, DIBt group #157
- Underlays, DIBt group #158
- Adhesives (excluding tile adhesives), DIBt group #157
- Decorative wall coverings (EN 15102), DIBt group #159
- Wall coverings are included only if
- these are not made entirely of paper; this covers vinyl, textile, cork products etc.;
- paper-made wallpapers only if they are photo-printed.
A separate area covers:
- Fire protective coatings, DIBt groups #19, #56 or #200, see DIBt Section III 4
CE marked products from the above list can be sold in Germany. But for being installed in German buildings, these have to be approved by DIBt after fulfilling the supplementary DIBt requirements on emissions and carry the Ü mark. External surveillance with yearly factory inspections and re-testing is required for most of these products, but not for coatings and adhesives. For these, re-testing every five years will do.
Please find here latest notified version of DIBt regulation (2009 / 0162). Detailed and updated documents (some of them also in English) can be seen and downloaded from the webpages of German DIBt Section II 4.
Most recent list of NIK / LCI values
LCI values are limit values for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), to be applied to VOC emissions test results after 28 days.
AgBB published the 2015 list of its NIK (LCI) values that can be downloaded from German EPA (UBA). Compared to the 2012 version, it contains significant changes, see our VOC Blog. Firstly, the LCI values are harmonized with the European LCI values, as far as such limits are available. And several VVOCs now have an LCI limit, such as formaldehyde (100 µg/m³), acetaldehyde (1200 µg/m³), butanal (650 µg/m³), and acetone (1200 µg/m³).
Another new LCI limit was assigned to the SVOC "Other saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons C17 to C22" (1000 µg/m³); earlier these were subsummized under the TSVOC (100 µg/m³). Now with the LCI value, these shall not be included in the TSVOC any longer, but in the TVOC. That change leads to a fairer and more appropriate evaluation of mixtures of aliphatic hydrocarbon mixtures than before.
Please see also a comparison of the different limit values in different countries and programs: www.eurofins.com/lci-cli-nik-crel.
- Tests for new approvals, or for renewals:
In theory, until 24th Feb 2016, a manufacturer can select whether they want to apply the AgBB 2012 or 2015 LCI limits. But this requires that DIBt supplies a workable version of its special ADAM reporting that is based on the new list; until then, DIBt evaluates after the 2012 list.
- Test within surveillance during validity of the approval:
During tests from inspections, the main goal is to show that the approved product and the inspected products are the same in terms of emissions into indoor air. For that reason, the same test conditions apply as for the test that was the basis of the respective approval - and therefore, earlier versions of the AgBB LCI limits may apply.
Successful application for the approval and the Ü mark is a prerequisite for entering ther German market - but only for the above listed covered products. Please see our special page describing the application procedures.
A decision of the European Court (C-100/13) clearly said that Germany must not establish a national approval system for construction products on top of CE marking. This is in contradiction with the German approval system and the Ü mark, administered by DIBt. On 13. April 2015 the DIBt informed about their present considerations.
Most decisions still are unclear. But DIBt considers to stop the national technical approvals during 2016, and to substitute these with requirements on the construction work (meaning on the building, not on the individual construction product). It is completely unclear how that will look like. For details and the time plan, please see the DIBt publication.
Most recent information is available in German language only as a draft (!) of a revised "Musterbauordnung MBO" and some explanations at the website of the German Conference of the Federal Ministries on construction.
Eurofins will continue to deliver testing and certification services for the German approval system as long as this is needed.
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with above specifications on emissions of VOC and aldehydes by independent testing, external surveillance (inspections, re-testing), and certification ("ÜZ body") for the Ü mark if required.
Eurofins operates both an approved test house and an approved ÜZ certification body. AgBB / DIBt testing can be easily combined with tests for other regulations or labels such as Belgian VOC regulation, French VOC regulations, Lithuanian VOC regulation, EMICODE, German Blue Angel, Finnish M1 and US tests. Such combinations are saving money compared with separate testing for each of these purposes.
Certification and testing services for Ü mark, CE mark and the Eurofins certification programme Indoor Air Comfort - certified products can be ordered in parallel for use on different market segments - there will be significant costs saving when compared to ordering these services separately.
Contact to surveillance and testing services
- Surveillance and Certification body:
(also DIBt approved surveillance and certification body)
- Testing lab:
(also DIBt approved testing body)
Smedeskovvej 38, 8464 Galten, Denmark
Phone: +45 7022 4276
Contact to VOC Testing Laboratories
Please see here contact information of Eurofins VOC testing
laboratories in Europe, China and Japan: