Newsletter – Issue 2 – 2017

Newsletter – Issue 2 – 2017

Experts discuss how to influence standards making

Both newly appointed and established SBS experts gathered in Brussels for the occasion of the first experts’ meeting of the year. The afternoon session focused on the exchange of experiences with two societal stakeholders, ECOS (European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation) and ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation), on how to influence standards making. Alliance-building and better use of synergies between “smaller” stakeholders were put forward as keys to success in this context. The morning session particularly targeted the new experts, in order to bring them up to speed on how to represent SBS in Technical Committees and Working Groups, and on how to report back to SBS, amongst other things. The next experts’ meetings will take place on 11 October in Brussels.
Iceland signs the Joint Initiative on Standardisation 

On 9 March, Iceland Ambassador Bergdis Ellertsdöttir and CEN Vice-President and Icelandic Standards Managing Director Gudrún Rögnvaldardóttir signed the Joint Initiative on Standardisation in the presence of Single Market Policy, Regulation and Implementation (DG GROW) Director Nunes de Almeida.

The Joint Initiative on Standardisation was signed on 13 June 2016 in Amsterdam in the presence of high officials. It sets out a shared vision for European standardisation, with a view to modernising the current standardisation process. Moreover, it identifies 15 concrete actions to further drive innovation, raise awareness of the importance of standards and improve the representation of European SMEs’ interests at international level. Today, 107 countries and organisations have signed the Initiative (including eight endorsements).

Technical platform on construction: better information or more information?

The European Commission organised the third meeting of the Technical Platforms on the Construction Product Regulation (CPR), this time focusing on “Information flows and needs within the supply chain”. Particular attention was paid to information needs for contractors and building controllers. Among other matters, the need to improve the quality of available information was mentioned, for example information about technical documents related to product installation.
On this point, several stakeholders and representatives of Member States expressed concerns about the possibility of achieving harmonised rules related to the installation of products and, more generally, to the execution of construction works. Ensuring building safety is and must be a clear goal, but producing additional information related to product installation creates additional burdens for many actors involved in construction, including SMEs. The inputs collected during the meeting will be taken into account for a potential revision of the CPR, bearing in mind that the Regulation does not refer to the execution of construction works.
The second part of the meeting focused on the digitalisation of the construction sector. The interoperability of IT structures is instrumental for the successful digitalisation of the construction sector. The legal compatibility of the regulatory instruments in place must be ensured to enhance innovation in this field. In order to better understand the current situation, the Commission is launching a strategic study on the digitalisation of the construction sector, with particular reference to Building Information Modelling (BIM) and to the level of readiness of construction companies, including SMEs. The Commission’s DG for Communications Networks, Content and Technology will be also involved in this initiative.
Commission publishes the ICT standardisation plan for 2017

On 3 March, the European Commission published the 2017 Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation. This Rolling Plan is the result of the dialogue between policy makers and standardisation makers with the aim of reaching the EU goals set for this year in the field of information and communication technologies. In practice, it establishes the requirements for ICT standardisation in the form of actions and provides a follow-up mechanism for these actions, guiding the cooperation between standardisation bodies and industries.
The 2017 Plan is organised around four thematic areas: key enablers and security, societal challenges, innovation for the single market and sustainable growth. More specifically, it identifies five standardisation priorities for the Digital Single Market: 5G, cloud, cybersecurity, big data and the internet of things (IoT). In addition, it defines a set of horizontal technologies for which innovation is advised, such as eHealth, intelligent transport systems, smart energy and advanced manufacturing.
Compared to the 2016 edition, the 2017 Rolling Plan includes the following new domains: 5G, FinTech, BIM and the Common Information Sharing Environment (CISE) for the EU maritime domain.

New standardisation request for lifts

In September 2016, the Commission issued a new standardisation request (Mandate M/549) asking CEN to develop and revise standards for lifts and safety components for lifts covered by Directive 2014/33/EU. Technical Committee 10 (Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks) of CEN, where SBS is represented by expert Giuseppe Lotti, is in charge of establishing safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts and service lifts, escalators and passenger conveyors. Until last year, CEN TC 10’s standardisation activity relied on a Commission request dated 1992 that was not publicly available.

In the new mandate, CEN is requested to draft harmonised standards in support of the implementation of Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSR) laid down in Annex I of the Lifts Directive 2014/33/EU, which includes conformity with the relevant health and safety requirements set in Annex I of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. In the mandate, the Commission states that the requested harmonised standards, while ensuring a high level of protection of the health and safety of persons, should also support fair competition, providing a level playing field on the Union market by effectively implementing these essential health and safety requirements. Indeed, Annex I of the mandate, setting out the requirements of the harmonised standards, clearly explains the purpose of fair competition.
The fair competition issue raised by this standardisation request is crucial for companies operating in the lifts maintenance and repair market, because existing harmonised standards do not fully comply with the essential safety requirements dealing with the availability of instructions and service tools needed for the safe operation of lifts, once they are put into service.

On the subject of the mandate, SBS and EFESME sent a joint letter to the European Commission. The letter is intended to raise some concerns on the CEN Work Programme in response to the standardisation request. Indeed, we ask for greater clarity on the proposal put forward by CEN and for the revision of the existing harmonised standard in order to comply with the EHSRs set out in the mandate. If these EHSRs are not implemented properly, repercussions for SMEs could be extremely burdensome.
SBS and EFESME will carefully monitor CEN TC 10 standardisation work in the coming months, in order to achieve harmonised standards for the revised lifts that are fully in compliance with the requirements set out in the new Commission standardisation request.

CEN TC 88 WG 21 – Reflective insulation products
Following the request for a New Work Item, CEN Technical Committees generally have three years to develop candidate harmonised standards in the framework of the CPR. The activities related to the drafting of prEN 16863 on thermal insulation products for buildings started in April 2014, and should have been completed by April 2017. However, the development of this standard has been delayed.
SBS has therefore asked CEN for an extension period to allow CEN/TC 88 to adequately take into account the changes that, according to several WG experts, are needed to the current version of prEN 16863. These changes include the addition of a specific reference to standard EN 16012+A1 for the measurement of thermal resistance of reflective insulation products.


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.