Newsletter – Issue 3 – 2018

Newsletter – Issue 3 – 2018

SBS 2018 Annual Conference: ‘Standards: a gateway for SMEs to the European Single Market and beyond?’

On 30 May, Small Business Standards celebrated and debated the 25th anniversary of the European Single Market at its 2018 Annual Conference. Over 100 participants from the public and private sectors in Europe and beyond explored the tremendous benefits and opportunities – as well as some challenges – for SMEs stemming from the EU’s free movement of goods, services, capital and people. Held in the prestigious Centre for Fine Arts Brussels (Bozar), and moderated by George Parker, Political Editor of the Financial Times, the SBS 2018 Annual Conference was the latest in a series of SBS ‘SMEs and Standardisation’ events.
The opening speech of the conference, delivered by entrepreneur and SBS President Gunilla Almgren, explained the importance of the Single Market and international trade for jobs and growth in Europe. She also talked about the impact of standards on SMEs. Next up, the Deputy Director-General for Trade, Helena König, emphasised the key role of SMEs in boosting the European economy. In the third speech, Alan Wolff, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), explained how standards and regulations can sometimes generate growth, but can also make markets more difficult to access. As the debate moved on to the suitability of standards for SMEs, participants agreed that small businesses needed financial assistance and the cooperation of trade associations to become more involved in setting standards.
The conference allowed representatives of SMEs in Europe and around the world to share their experience of standards and whether they are a help or a hindrance for their business, especially when selling to the European market. One of the biggest and most expensive challenges mentioned for SMEs outside the EU was compliance testing (used to decide whether or not a product or system meets the required standards). Having already agreed that SMEs needed to play a bigger role in standardisation, participants explored the possibility of using web-based tools to reduce the time and costs involved.

Seminar on standards for small businesses in the scaffolding industry in Cologne

On 6 June, European SMEs in the scaffolding industry involved in standardisation came together for a seminar designed to raise awareness of the value of standards for smaller businesses in Cologne (Germany). It was organised by the Union of European Scaffolding Contractors (UEG).
The first panel was chaired by Christoph-Ludwig Bügler, an expert from SBS, and included German, French, Norwegian and Swedish members of the CEN/TC 53 mirror committee. Together they discussed whether the CEN TC/53 standards should be reviewed, particularly EN 12811 (‘temporary works equipment’). This is the foundation for all scaffolding construction standards, and is therefore the most important.
The second panel focused on training standards in Europe, especially the Erasmus Plus programme, which offers traineeships in the scaffolding industry. Participants shared their experience, especially the bureaucracy they had to deal with. Different funding options were also discussed. There was a lot of interest in this topic, and it was clear that participants saw the traineeship programme as the first step on the road to a common European training framework.

Does the Machinery Directive still have EU added value?

The aim of the Machinery Directive is to guarantee a high level of safety and protection for machine users and others who may be affected. It also ensures free movement of machinery within the Single Market.
The Machinery Directive was adopted in 2006. After six years, the European Commission carried out an evaluation to see whether it had achieved its aims and whether it still had EU added value. This assessment was part of an exercise carried out by the Commission to make EU legislation suitable for emerging digital technologies and innovative products. It looked at how the Directive works and performs according to five criteria: relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value. The results of the assessment were recently published in a Staff Working Document (SWD).
The overall conclusion is that the Directive is generally fit for purpose and has, so far, promoted innovation. However, digitisation may change this. Some of its provisions also need to be clearer and better coordinated with other legislation. The European Commission is planning an impact assessment study, including a public consultation in 2019, to determine the next steps.

New staff join SBS!

SBS is delighted to announce the appointment of Alain Dechamps. Alain, who joined the organisation on 1 May, will lead a team of experts and be responsible for all aspects of standardisation policy. He has a Master’s degree in Management and Data Processing and 27 years’ experience in standardisation. Before joining SBS, Alain worked for CEN. After 22 years’ loyal service, he now looks forward to bringing the benefit of his experience to SBS.

INTERMAT 2018: SBS emphasises the importance of OpenBIM for SMEs

On Tuesday 24 April, SBS and buildingSMART International organised a conference entitled ‘Why are open standards a way for SMEs to access BIM (Building Information Modelling)?’ This conference was held in Paris as part of INTERMAT, the international exhibition for construction and infrastructure, where 1,500 exhibitors presented equipment, materials and solutions for civil engineering and structural building works. SBS was represented by Eugenio Quintieri, Secretary-General of the EBC (European Builders Confederation). Other participants included representatives of buildingSMART International and the French standardisation organisation AFNOR. After outlining the mission and structure of SBS, the speakers exchanged views on the importance of openBIM for construction SMEs and how they can get more involved in the standardisation process.

2018 priorities for ICT standardisation in support of EU policies

Every year, the European Commission publishes a Rolling Plan for ICT standardisation, outlining priorities for the development of ICT standards in support of European policies. The recently published Rolling Plan for 2018 covers 170 actions to be taken in four areas (innovation for the digital single market, key enablers and security, societal challenges and sustainable growth).
Compared to 2017, the new priorities focus mainly on the development of standards to support key technology areas such as distributed ledger solutions (blockchain), cybersecurity, Building Information Modelling and digital skills.
Click here for more information about the 2018 Rolling Plan for ICT standardisation.
SBS Seminar: ‘Global Harmonisation of Lift Standards’

On 31 May, on behalf of SBS, EFESME (the European Federation for Elevator SMEs) organised a seminar, chaired by Dr Pinney, on the topic of ‘Global Harmonisation of Lift Standards’. At this event, Mr Gharibaan, Chairman of CEN/TC 10, and Mr Gschwendtner, Chairman of ISO/TC 178, informed participants of the work done by their committees to improve the safety of lift users and operators, and to standardise European lift safety standards by 2026. The seminar helped participants to understand the link between standards and business, and raised awareness of the need to involve SMEs in this process.

Status of the request for harmonised standards in support of the implementation of essential health and safety requirements

The European Commission request to CEN as regards lifts and safety components for lifts in support of the Lift Directive (M/549) is still in the implementation phase. Following the submission of technical comments by SBS in December 2017, as suggested by the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre, WG1 (Working Group 1) of CEN/TC 10 discussed the contribution made by SBS at its most recent meeting, held in Milan on 14 and 15 March 2018. A follow-up discussion will be held at the next meeting in Brussels. Although M/549 is still being implemented, SMEs seem to be in a better position now than they were in the early stages of the process. SBS will continue to monitor the work of CEN/TC 10 to support lift SMEs.

Shortage of consultants to support the standardisation of medical devices

The most recent meeting of the Advisory Board for Healthcare Standards (ABHS) raised concerns regarding the nomination of Harmonised Standards (HAS) Consultants for the medical device industry. It quickly became apparent that the next few months will see a shortage of consultants, who play a key role as intermediaries between standardisation committees and the relevant departments of the European Commission. Furthermore, HAS Consultants assist in the development of standards and assess whether they meet the Commission’s requests.

In light of the Medical Device Regulation that came into effect in May 2017, more HAS Consultants will need to be recruited as soon as possible to ensure the necessary support for the development of medical device standards.

Availability of standards under the new PPE regulatory framework

The first list of harmonised European standards (hENs) under Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation (EU) 2016/425 was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 27 March 2018.
However, this does not mean that products in compliance with former PPE Directive 89/686/EEC can no longer be put on the market. A one-year transition period has been agreed to allow these products to be marketed until 20 April 2019. After that, PPE manufacturers must comply with hENs under the new Regulation.
Read more about the availability of PPE standards here.


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.