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European National Legislation >> German VOC regulation >> Details of ABG regulation

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New regulation in Germany ABG – publication of the MVV TB

After abolition of the U-mark for CE labelled construction product in Germany, DIBt provided new German requirements called ABG within the administrative regulation MVV TB) on low emitting construction products.

This regulation is targeted at indoor air quality and health in buildings and defines specifications of products that show low VOC emissions, and it limits a number of hazardous ingredients. The ABG regulation is valid for all construction products used in regularly occupied rooms ("Aufenthaltsräume") that contain significant portions of organic nature and that therefore have a disposition to release volatile organic compounds.

These products are specifically mentioned:

  • Floor coverings, incl. floor coatings, screeds and mortars made of synthetic resin, artificial stone made of plastic, sport floorings
  • Flooring adhesives and adhesives for compound structures,
  • Underlays,
  • Coatings for wood floorings and for resilient floorings,
  • Decorative wall coverings made of plastic,
  • Ceiling coverings and constructions with significant portions of organic nature,
  • Insulation material with significant portions of organic nature, e.g. in-situ foams based on phenol resin or on urea-formaldehyde,
  • Treated or glued wood,
  • Fire protective coatings, for steel construction, or on-site applied

Products without product standard (CE mark):

For products without CE mark, the German approval AbZ (Ü-mark) still will be required and can be used as proof of compliance.

Products with product standard (CE mark):

Detailed definitions of the product types and how to test and show compliance with the requirements are only given for textile floor coverings in a technical guideline. For this product group notified laboratories can perform testing according to the technical guideline and the ABG requirements. These laboratory reports can be used as proof for ABG. But there are not definitions concerning the frequency of testing or possible surveillance of the factory production control.

According to DIBt no further technical guidelines will be developed. DIBt proposes to the manufacturers of other CE marked products to purchase a “voluntary approval report” from DIBt defining the product range and testing program followed by a surveillance procedure with annual testing and inspection of the production site. A contract with a surveillance body like Eurofins will be mandatory in that case.

Another option would be to apply for an ETA (European Technical Assessment), but here manufacturers need to make sure, that this will also cover the ABG requirements. This is possibly a more complicated way to show proof with the ABG requirements.

Having a technical guideline only for textile floor coverings and no described mandatory surveillance procedure for textile floorings would mean that textile floorings and other floorings are not going to be treated in the same way. This circumstance might open the door for possible claims against that regulation.

Indoor Air Comfort Gold and voluntary DIBt approval reports:

The testing requirements of ABG are already included in the Indoor Air Comfort Gold specifications and will be tested automatically. Eurofins is a notified testing lab for DIBt and for the surveillance procedure as well. If a manufacturer choses to purchase a voluntary approval by DIBt followed by a surveillance contract, then this can be combined with an Indoor Air Comfort Gold Certification. For existing Indoor Air Comfort Gold clients no additional annual costs for testing or inspections will occur, only the costs for the voluntary DIBt approval.