08 Nov Construction Products Regulations (CPR)
Construction Products Regulations (CPR) Statement
What is CPR?
Construction Products Regulation (CPR) covers the marking of construction products within the European Union. CPR creates a common technical language that helps all users assess the smoke and fire related performance of construction products.
Under CPR, all communications cabling must be CE-marked in accordance with essential indicated requirements, specifically safety in case of fire from 1st July 2017.
The classification of fire performance in CPR is based on “reaction to fire”. There are seven basic EuroClasses A, B1, B2, C, D, E and F by reference to the measured results when cables are subject to a range of fire performance tests. The CPR ONLY applies to the ‘fixed infrastructure’, therefore does not include any connecting hardware or patch leads and fan-out assemblies. It does however cover pre-terminated solutions such as MTP Trunk Cables etc. that are deemed to be ‘fixed’.
In the UK, the standards that will define the EuroClass applied are:
- BS 7671 – Requirements for electrical installations. IET Wiring Regulations.
- BS 6701 – Telecommunications equipment and telecommunications cabling, specification for installation, operation and maintenance.
Both documents are currently under review and will give guidance to CPR when amended.
BS 7671 (18th Edition) is due to be published in July 2018 and will co-exist with the 17th Edition until 1st January 2019.
Until the 18th edition is published there will be no direction on how to apply a EuroClass. The 18th Edition will defer to BS 6701 for confirmation of where to install telecommunications cables of a given EuroClass.
BS 6701 Amendment 1 should be published this month (November). It is being amended to empower the reference proposed in the 18th Edition. This means that the EuroClass direction for telecommunications cables within BS 6701 will precede the reference to BS 6701 from BS 7671.
BS 6701 Amendment 1:2017
It is expected that the requirement for installers will be as detailed below:
“For new installations and the refurbishment or extension of existing installations within the external fire barrier of buildings and other structures, installation cables which are subject to the Construction Products Regulations shall, as a minimum, meet the requirements of EuroClass Cca-s1b, d2, a2, in accordance with BS EN 13501-6.”
“All other cables within the external fire barrier shall meet the minimum recommended requirements of BS EN 60332-1-2.”
“The installation of cables penetrating the external fire barrier of buildings shall conform to the BS EN 50174 series of standards.”
In summary, BS 6701 requires all installation cables to be EuroClass Cca-s1b, d2, a2. This is the UK position which builds upon, but does not conflict with, BS EN 50174 standards.
EuroClass Class Eca cables meet the requirements of BS EN 50174-1 and BS EN 50174-2 (which are mandated from the existing BS 6701) when implemented in CPR terms and have costs in line with current market rates.
At this time, the amendment has not been approved and there is a small possibility that the EuroClass Cca may be reduced to EuroClass Dca. In truth this will make little difference to the products placed on the market since most suppliers attempting to make Dca will end up with a Cca product anyway.
So irrelevant of whether the final text of BS 6701 Amendment 1:2017 states EuroClass Cca or Dca we have a situation that when compared to the current in-building requirement of the “minimum recommended requirements” of BS EN 60332-1-2 (which is equivalent to Eca) the new cables will probably be more expensive.
New EuroClass Dca and Cca cables will incur uplifts in cost to cover the testing and redesign/reconstruction cost the manufacturer has endured. The exact uplift in costs will differ from each manufacturer. However, early evidence from manufacturers suggests potential cost rises of between 20% and 60%.
As unshielded telecommunication cables are the most difficult to construct to meet Cca criteria, these solutions will likely display the greatest uplift. It is therefore expected that following the release of the new standards, the telecommunications cabling market will show a shift towards shielded solutions.