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VOC emissions for EU Construction Products Directive - Test method now approved

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07 September 2012

On September 6, WG2 of CEN TC 351 finally approved the horizontal test method test method for VOC emissions evaluation under European Construction Products Regulation. It is based on 3 and 28 days testing of emissions from construction products in a ventilated test chamber. While ISO 16000 test methods and German DIBt test method were used as a starting point, a number of details were specified in more detail – with the goal to achieve improved reliability of such tests.

Test chamber parameters and the allowed deviations are precisely defined now. And the involved GC/MS analysis now shall be performed with only one type of detector (MS) and only one type of separation column. But the most important progress of this standard is that all test results are calculated to a European Reference Room, valid for all products and all intended uses. This room is not a test room, it is specified only for the procedure of calculating emission test results to air concentrations, for comparison with limit values – in a very similar manner as both French and German regulation work today already.

Limit values for VOC emissions are not harmonized in Europe and will be defined separately in each EU Member State that wishes to have such limit values. As an example, AgBB just issued a 2012 revision of its LCI limit values for Germany.

Next steps will include:

  • Final and purely editorial refinement of the text during Sept. 2012.
  • TC 351 final approval.
  • Publication of this horizontal test method as CEN Technical Specification (TS), probably during first half of year 2013.
  • Later publication of this horizontal test method as EN standard is foreseen around 2015/2016 after a number of round-robin tests for identifying the testing reproducibility between different laboratories.
  • Around 2013, CEN will receive mandates from the European Commission to include VOC emissions into the declaration of performance that is necessary for CE marking, for a number of construction products that are intended for interior use.
  • Then the related product performance standards will be updated by the responsible CEN TCs and refer to the new CEN Technical Specification on VOC emissions testing, just adding product specific specifications regarding taking samples, preparing test specimens, etc.
  • After publication of those standards, all concerned CE marked construction products will show their VOC emissions in their declarations of performance, if they are distributed in a country with national regulation of that issue.

For more information please see www.eurofins.com/cpr-voc.

Eurofins prepares a series of 1 day seminars explaining how CPR, French and German regulation, and LEED, will impact products with specifications on VOC emissions during the upcoming years. The seminars will be offered in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, in the USA and in the UK,during Dec. 2012 / Jan. 2013. For date and program, please look at www.eurofins.com/voc-events.