DIBt and German Ü mark - Procedures
Application for approval of a product by DIBt and for granting of the Ü mark requires a number of steps.
Application, Approval, Surveillance
- Check the DIBt webpage for whether the product needs an approval.
- Read from the DIBt webpage how to apply and which documents must be delivered. Instructions can be found here:https://www.dibt.de/en/Approvals/abZ.html.
- Normally the recipe of the product will be required.
- Collect the requested information, send it to DIBt, best try to make an appointment.
- DIBt will evaluate the delivered information and select sample(s) out of the product portfolio that are regarded as being representative for testing, after grouping similar products in classes.
- You can ease this step by delivering a qualified proposal. You can also deliver existing VOC emissions test reports, if available.
- Order DIBt conform VOC emissions testing from a DIBt approved testing lab. Best from Eurofins Product Testing A/S.
- DIBt will supply you with a list of accepted labs. Eurofins Product Testing A/S in Denmark is one of the mostly used labs on that list.
- You will receive a German General Approval (ABZ) that will contain additional duties and specifications.
Any change compared to the content of the ABZ approval shall be notified to DIBt. Such changes of the ABZ cost money another time.
- This approval runs under the condition that you sign a surveillance and certification contract with a "ÜZ" certification body - except for adhesives and parquet coatings that do not need such external surveillance.
Please be aware that it can take a long time before DIBt reacts.
Eurofins can supply you with contacts to experienced consultants who support you in communication with DIBt if you need support.
VOC emissions testing
A DIBt approved testing lab will perform VOC emissions tests following the specific DIBt testing requirements. These details are not public, but the DIBt approved labs are instructed how to do.
Emissions are tested by placing a test specimen in a ventilated test chamber during 28 days. In some cases, shorter testing duration can be accepted by DIBt.
The test chamber represents the European Reference Room of prEN 16516 in a small scale, typically with 119, 238 or 1000 litres volume. Air samples are collected at the outlet of the test chamber for analysis and evaluation.
The 3 days test is representative of a building renovation case with early re-occupancy and prohibits excessively high initial VOC emissions and the presence of carcinogens. The 28 days test is seen as representative of long-term emissions.
The limits are specified for:
- Carcinogens after 3 and 28 days
- Total VOC after 3 and 28 days
- Total SVOC after 28 days
- Single VOC compounds with "LCl" limit values (also called NIK in German) after 28 days.
(More than 170 NIK values have been published)
- Single VOC compounds without such LCI limit values (including the non-identified VOCs) after 28 days.
The German General Approval (ABZ) by DIBt normally is valid for 5 years and entitles to use the Ü mark, but only after a contract between the manufacturer and a DIBt approved independent surveillance and certification body ("ÜZ body") has been signed, and the surveillance has started. Only adhesives and parquet coatings do not need such external surveillance.
The product will be listed by DIBt in its public database with the number of the ABZ approval and its validity period.
Continuous external surveillance
The surveillance goes for monitoring that the product properties as described in the ABZ approval do not significantly change, compared to the approved product.
The inspector of the ÜZ body will inspect the quality management system (as far as VOC emissions into indoor air are concerned) at the manufacturing site - typically on an annual basis. This is not restricted to German or European manufacturing sites, it can be performed anywhere in the world.
The inspector then will take samples for spot checking whether the manufactured product conforms to the approved product within an acceptable range. Re-testing can be a simpler and shorter test than the initial test, if the ABZ approval allows that explicitly. The decision is not taken by the inspector, bnor the manufacturer, it only follows the wording in the ABZ approval.
The ÜZ body will issue a surveillance report and a conformity certificate if this corresponds to the findings of the inspection and the re-testing.
Adhesives and parquet coatings do not require such external surveillance. Re-testing every 5 years will do.
After 5 years the approval can be renewed upon application, including a full test.
- Tests for new approvals, or for renewals:
AgBB 2015 LCI limits.
- 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.
According to a recent communication by DIBt (on 06 January 2016):
- A new regulation "AGB" will be in force after 15 October 2016. CE marked products no longer will need an abZ approval and an Ü mark after 15 October 2016.
- Products that still can be DIBt approved must show compliance by showing that approval and carrying the Ü mark.
- Products that no longer can be DIBt approved can show compliance by other means, where details are not yet specified.
- The Ü mark MUST NOT BE affixed to products and packaging carrying a CE mark after 15 October 2016 any longer.
- DIBt recommends to show a valid abZ approval as proof of compliance that is under annual surveillance until its maximum validity. Maximum possible validity of an abZ is April 2020.
- Many manufacturers are using this possibility. They plan to use their valid abZ as marketing argument against competing products without an abZ.
- New products do not have this possibility any longer.
- This unequal treatment of old and new products will give severe problems, but nevertheless these are the present plans of the German authorities.
- Other programs will be accepted as well.
- The Eurofins operated Indoor Air Comfort certification program is a good choice for that purpose.
Please follow our VOC Blog to stay updated on this issue.
Eurofins VOC related services
Eurofins offers documentation of compliance with the specifications on emissions of VOC and aldehydes by independent and ISO 17025 accredited testing, and if relevant also with external surveillance (inspections, re-testing), and certification, e.g. in combination with the Eurofins operated certification programme Indoor Air Comfort - certified products.
Eurofins operates both an accredited and notified test house and an approved ÜZ certification body. VOC emissions testing for any program or regulation can be easily combined with tests for other regulations or labels such as Belgian VOC regulation, French VOC regulations, German VOC regulations, EMICODE, German Blue Angel, Finnish M1 and US tests. Such combinations allow to save money compared with separate testing for each of these purposes. One example is the Eurofins Pan-European test package.
Certification and testing services for Ü mark, CE mark and the Eurofins certification program 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)
Eurofins Consumer Product Testing GmbH
Am Neuländer Gewerbepark 4
21079 Hamburg, Germany
Phone: +49 40 492 94 6815
- Testing lab:
(also DIBt approved testing body, and accredited as well as notified testing lab)
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: