Market surveillance, declaration of performance and CE marking
Construction products with CE marking can be traded freely in the EU. However, this right comes with certain obligations. Market surveillance involves checking whether construction products with CE marking meet the European harmonisation requirements and do not pose a threat to health, safety or other public interests.
Declaration of performance and CE marking – Obligations for manufacturers
The CE marking needs to be affixed to those construction products for which the manufacturer is obliged to draw up a declaration of performance in accordance with the Construction Products Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 305/2011). This is the case when the manufacturer places on the market a construction product that is covered by a harmonised European standard (hEN) or for which a European Technical Assessment (ETA) has been issued. In the declaration of performance, the manufacturer states the performances which have been determined in accordance with the hEN or assessed in the ETA. In Germany, the declaration of performance must be supplied in German. By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer takes responsibility for the conformity of the construction product with the declared performance.
More information on the obligations of economic operators under the Construction Products Regulation and on CE marking can be found in the Common FAQ catalogue on the EU Construction Products Regulation and Market Surveillance developed by the German market surveillance authorities.
Market surveillance – Who is doing the checks and what is being checked?
In Germany, the federal states are responsible for surveillance of harmonised construction products. The market surveillance authorities of the federal states carry out spot checks on site – for example, in DIY stores, at building materials dealers' premises or at customs. This 'active market surveillance' is based on a market surveillance programme and annual implementing provisions.
First, the market surveillance authorities of the federal states carry out a formal check to determine whether harmonised construction products
- are marketed with a legally compliant declaration of performance and
- bear the CE marking with correct and complete information.
The competent authority also checks whether there is conflicting information in the declaration of performance, the CE marking and the accompanying documents, e.g. an instruction manual.
If during the checks a suspicion of material shortcomings arises – meaning if the market surveillance authorities of the federal states have reason to believe that the actual performance of a product differs from that given in the declaration of performance – they refer the matter to DIBt in its function as the joint market surveillance authority.
As the joint market surveillance authority, DIBt assumes the following tasks:
- coordination of market surveillance,
- carrying out market surveillance procedures upon suspicion of a material shortcoming (see above),
- organisation of product testing including evaluation of test results and risk assessment,
- technical consultation of the federal states and
- provision of training.
Objectives of market surveillance
Market surveillance serves to protect users against construction products presenting a risk. In addition, it aims to verify compliance of construction products with the applicable harmonisation requirements and thus to help strengthen trust in the free movement of CE-marked construction products. The market surveillance authorities will try to reach this objective in cooperation with the manufacturers, importers and/or distributors. However, if talks with the respective economic actors do not yield results, various measures are available to the authorities, such as prohibiting the making available of the product, withdrawal from the market, recall or warning of users.
We need your help!
Besides active checks based on the market surveillance programme, there is 'reactive market surveillance'. Here the competent authorities follow up reports and complaints in connection with harmonised construction products received by the nationwide contact points for market surveillance.
If you do have a complaint, the contact point to speak to is the one in the federal state in which the product manufacturer or the importer or distributor of the product concerned is established.