Description of sector

In order to provide a comprehensive analysis of the sector, a wide definition of the construction sector is used, including construction products and services. This will create some overlaps with other sectors (e.g. on products there will be overlaps with manufacturing sectors while construction services will overlap with Professional and Business Services). However, given these sectors are closely linked, and it is important to consider the impacts of the UK’s departure from the EU on the construction industry as a whole, a wider definition of the construction sector is being used, consistent with the Construction 2025 sector strategy.

The current EU regulatory regime

Construction Products Regulation (CPR)

Article 2 of the Construction Products Regulation CPR 305/2011/EU, defines a construction product as any product that is to be permanently placed into a construction work (building construction or civil engineering) which has an effect on the performance of the construction work.

The CPR is an EU Single Market regulation, intended to overcome technical barriers to trade. The CPR came into force on 1st July 2013, and introduced compulsory European Conformity (CE) marking for most construction products used for building and civil engineering works. There are currently around 500 standards, and new standards continue to be adopted. The EU Construction Products Regulations place obligations on manufacturers, distributors and importers of construction products whenthese products are placed on the market. Construction materials manufactured in the UK currently are required to comply with EU standards if they are covered by a harmonised standard.

52 Government data:

The British Standards Institute (BSI) is responsible for working with UK industry, regulators and CEN (European Committee on Standardization) to draft the technical detail of standards. Manufacturers wishing to import into the EU from outside are
required to CE mark their products under the CPR. CEN is an association of 33European standards bodies (BSI being the UK representative) that is recognised by the EU as making compulsory and voluntary standards at a European level.

The CPR aims to ensure the reliability of information on the performance of construction products. This is achieved through compulsory harmonised European product standards and voluntary European Technical Assessments that use a common technical language and uniform assessment methods. The CPR includes requirements for construction products that come within the scope of a harmonised European product standard to have a CE marking and to be accompanied by a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and other information if they are to be placed on the market in the EU. The manufacturer may choose to affix a CE mark and prepare a DoP if the product is covered by a voluntary European Technical Assessment (for some products not covered by a harmonised European standard).

The impact of these regulations on industry is variable due to the diversity of construction products. This market includes complete products such as doors, components and materials. Businesses involved in manufacturing vary from micro specialists such as carpentry to international brick manufacturers. The regulations do not only directly impact manufacturers in terms of cost of compliance or design of products, but indirectly to clients through the supply chain e.g. by creating certainty of quality, interoperability, ability to comply with building performance or safety standards, or the ability to purchase from a wide supplier base across the EU. Firms exporting to the EU, which is a significant destination for UK exports, will need to ensure their products continue to conform to the CPR.

Product Accreditation

The EU CPR relies on a system of notified bodies in Member States considered to be competent to carry out the conformity assessment. Such bodies are first approved by their respective Member States to carry out certain designated tasks, and then notified to the European Commission and other Member States. Notified bodies are required to participate in the ’Group of Notified Bodies‘ (GNB), with their European counterparts, to discuss practical implementation matters to achieve a consistent approach to theimplementing the Regulation.

The UK has over 50 accreditation bodies operating certification schemes for construction industry manufacturers/suppliers, covering product conformity, quality management and employee qualifications for particular types of construction work.

UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) certifies each of these bodies and provides specific advice on achieving appropriate accreditation for any given market, product or service.
Where an assessment by a Notified Body is required, once this has been undertaken, the notified body will issue relevant certification allowing manufacturers to produce a DoP, CE mark their products and put them on the market in the EU. The list of UK based EU notified bodies are currently the same accreditation bodies previously approved by UKAS.

Health and Safety

47. The Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 require the implementation of health and safety requirements in the construction contracting sector. The CDM regulations transpose EU Directive 1992/57/EEC. Directive 92/57/EEC lays down minimum safety and health requirements for temporary or mobile construction sites i.e. any construction site at which building or civil engineering works are carried out and intends to prevent risks by establishing a chain ofresponsibility linking all the parties involved.

48. It requires health and safety coordination for both the project preparation stage and during project execution stages; clear roles and responsibilities of the various stakeholders; the preparation of a limited number of documents that assist in ensuring good working conditions; and extends to all of the firms involved in construction projects and the principles that are found in the health and safety Framework Directive (89/391/EEC) for undertakings sharing a workplace to cooperate and coordinate in preventing occupational risks.

49. Also applicable to the sector is Directive 89/391 EEC which sets the minimum safety and health requirements that apply in all workplaces, while Member States are allowed to maintain or establish more stringent measures. Other directives relevant to the sector include:
– Directive 89/656/EEC – use of personal protective equipment;
– Directive 90/269/EEC – manual handling of loads;
– Directive 92/58/EEC – safety and/or health signs;
– Directive 98/24/EC – chemical agents;
– Directive 2009/104/EC – use of work equipment;
– Directive 2002/44/EC – vibration;
– Directive 2003/10/EC – noise; and
– Directive 2009/148/EEC – asbestos.

Energy efficiency related regulations

50. The construction sector is impacted by a range of EU directives related to climate  change. The particular Directives are:
– Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU) – This Framework Directive requires national planning to deliver improvements in energy efficiency to meet both indicative and binding energy-saving targets. This has specific requirements relating to the role of the public sector, supplier obligations, auditing for large companies, promotion of combined heat and power, metering and billing and information provision.
– Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU) – This Directive sets  minimum requirements for new build and major renovations for both domestic and non-domestic buildings, requires a national calculation methodology for assessing the energy performance of buildings and requires Energy PerformanceCertificates (EPC) at point of sale or rental.
– Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) – This Directive covers a range of products used in construction such as windows and boilers.
– Energy Labelling Directive (2010/30/EU) – This Directive covers a range of products used in construction such as air conditioning units and boilers.
– Renewable Energy Sources Directive (2009/28/EC) – This Directive sets the context and high level targets for renewable energy generation and is implemented through a range of UK policies and incentives. These domestic rregulations and policies influence the installation of renewable energy systems, e.g. solar panels, in new and existing homes and non-domestic buildings.

51. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is implemented in England through Building Regulations with regard to implementing the minimum energy requirement.These are devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (the requirements for the Energy Performance Certificate framework in the Directive are implemented using European Communities Act powers, which is also a devolved matter).

52. The construction products sector is also impacted by regulations relating to greenhouse gas emissions, including EU ETS. It is worth noting that the suite of regulations and how they are applied in the UK has a significant impact on the viability and investment opportunities for certain UK construction products such as steel, glass, cement, ceramics and bricks.

Environmental and Chemicals related legislation

53. There are a number of generic environmental regulations that impact to a greater or  lesser extent on the construction products sub-sector. For example, legislation such as REACH (see below) and labelling and exports regulations, impact on UK manufacture of paints and varnishes and plastics based products such as coated wire.


54. Chemicals produced in or imported by the EU are subject to the EU REACH 1907/2006/EC (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals) Regulation. REACH is a single market measure that addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment. REACH also has the aim of ensuring the free circulation of goods across the internal market and enhancing competitiveness and innovation.

55. REACH primarily puts the responsibility on manufacturers and importers of chemicals and other substances covered by REACH, with a focus on identifying risk and applying appropriate risk management measures. Further duties affect downstream sector users of chemicals. Authorities (Member States or the European Chemicals Agency
(ECHA), which manages REACH on behalf of the Commission/EU) can initiate additional EU-wide regulatory controls on the most dangerous chemicals.
EU Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation, 2008

56. CLP aims to ensure a high level of protection of health and the environment, as well as the free movement of chemicals. CLP is fundamental to the EU chemicals legislative framework and applies to all suppliers of chemicals from SMEs to larger businesses across all chemical sectors and all volumes of chemicals. The identification of the hazardous properties of chemicals under CLP is the starting point for the control of chemicals in the EU and through relevant domestic legislation including REACH.

57. Chemicals are required to be classified according to their hazards and labelled and packaged as appropriate according to the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008. This regulation adopts the international United Nations Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (the
“GHS”). Like REACH, CLP applies to the EEA and is adopted into their national legislation. Criteria changes at UN level lead to corresponding changes at EU level, normally every 2 years via Adaptations to Technical Progress (ATPs). CLP also governs the system on the agreement of legally binding hazard classifications for substances (“harmonised classifications”) to reflect the latest scientific data. These ATPs are adopted annually.

58. CLP applies across the UK including the Devolved Administrations (DAs). There are domestic regulations that give regulatory authorities powers to enforce CLP in the UK. Export and Import of Hazardous Chemicals EU Regulation, 2012 (commonly referred to as the ‘Prior Informed Consent’ Regulation or PIC)

59. The Export and Import of Hazardous Chemicals EU Regulation No 649/2012 requires information exchange  between the countries of exporters and importers so that the hazardous properties of the chemical are known to trading parties. A subset of these chemicals is subject to the ‘prior informed consent’ procedure established by the UN
Rotterdam Convention and a smaller subset is banned under the UN Stockholm Convention. PIC is marked as EEA relevant by the EU but is considered by the EEA EFTA States not to be relevant for incorporation into the EEA Agreement.

60. Besides covering the 44 substances currently listed in the Rotterdam Convention, the Regulation also applies various trade controls on some 350 other hazardous substances.

Rotterdam Convention
61. The Rotterdam Convention is a multilateral environmental agreement that promotes shared responsibilities in relation to importation of hazardous chemicals. The  convention promotes open exchange of information and calls on exporters of hazardous chemicals to use proper labelling, include directions on safe handling, and inform purchasers of any known restrictions or bans. Parties, of which the UK is one in its own right, can decide whether to allow or to ban the importation of chemicals listed in the treaty, and exporting countries are obliged to make sure that producers within
their jurisdiction comply. It is implemented by the EU Regulation on Prior InformedConsent (EU 649/2012).

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regulation, 2004

62. The EU Regulation No 850/2004 on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) bans or severely restricts the production and use of 35 chemicals that are listed in the international Stockholm Convention.

Stockholm Convention
63. The Stockholm Convention is a multilateral environment agreement to which the UK is a Party in its own right, effective from May 2004, which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It is implemented by the EU regulation on POPs. A number of substances that have applications for wood
preservation are included. The Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution EU Decision 81/462/EEC implements the convention on long-range transboundary air pollution. This restricts the use of certain substances, including some that can be used in applications such as wood preservation. EU Waste Framework Directive, 2008

64. The Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) sets out a framework for waste management, detailing the basic concepts and definitions, such as those for waste, recycling and recovery. It explains when waste ceases to be waste and becomes a secondary raw material (known as end-of-waste criteria), and how to distinguish between waste and by-products.
EU Waste Shipments Regulation, 2006

65. The Waste Shipments Regulation (EC/1013/2006) sets out the procedures for the transboundary shipment of waste within the EU and between the EU and other countries. It also places a ban on the export of hazardous wastes to countries not in the OECD as well as a ban on the export of waste for disposal. This implements our international obligations under the UN Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal, and the OECD decision establishing a control system for wastes destined for recovery (C(2001)107/FINAL).
23The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of HazardousWastes and their Disposal 66. The Basel Convention is an international treaty that aims to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. As noted above, the UK is also a party to OECD Decision C(2001)/107/FINAL establishing a control system for wastes destined for recovery. Our obligations under both of these are implemented through the EU Waste Shipment Regulations. These are both implemented into EU law by the EU Waste Shipments Regulations (EC) No 1013/2006.


67. Construction product regulations are enforced by Trading Standards (England, Scotland and Wales) and the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service. 68. Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) is enforced by:
• The Health and Safety Executive;
• Local authorities – trading standards;
• The General Pharmaceutical Council (limited enforcement powers re pharmacies);
• Environment Agency (support re environmental hazards);
• The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (support re environmental hazards); and
• HSENI (in Northern Ireland).

69. The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) regulation is enforced by:
• The Health and Safety Executive (Designated National Authority and Enforcement);
• HM Revenue and Customs (Enforcement);
• The UK Border Agency (Enforcement); and
• HSENI (in Northern Ireland).

70. REACH is enforced by:
• The Health and Safety Executive (UK Competent Authority and Enforcement);
• The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland;
• Local authorities – health and safety;
• Local authorities – consumer safety;
• Environment Agency (support re environmental hazards);
• The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (support re environmental hazards);
• Northern Ireland Environment Agency(support re environmental hazards);
• BEIS – Energy Development Unit (environmental protection re offshore
installations); and
• Office of Rail and Road (for railway installations and rolling stock).
71. Energy Efficiency legislation is enforced by:
• The Environment Agency;
• National Measurement and Regulation Office;
• Ofgem;
• Local Authorities;
• The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA); and
• The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
72. Waste regulations are generally enforced by Local Authorities and the four UK environmental protection bodies (Environment Agency (EA); Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA); Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA); Natural Resource Wales (NRW)). Waste shipments are enforced by the UK competent authorities, which are the EA; SEPA; NIEA; NRW.

73. Enforcement of the procurement rules is through the courts rather than through a competent authority. EU Directive 2007/66/EC (‘the remedies directive’) regulates when and how public procurement decisions may be challenged when there has been an alleged breach. Suppliers can take action in the domestic courts. The Commission can also bring infraction proceedings either independently or following a complaint.

The Remedies Directives have been incorporated into the main regulations governing public procurement – the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016.
74. The CDM Regulations are normally enforced by the Health and Safety Executive in Great Britain and by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland. Some aspects of construction work are enforced by local authorities where they are the enforcing authority for that type of premises. This covers non-notifiable construction work which is entirely internal to the building and which is not separated off from the normal operations of the premises, and work to do with the removal or maintenance of insulation on heating or water systems.

Existing frameworks for how trade is facilitated between countries in this sector

75. The arrangements described in this section are examples of existing arrangements between countries. They should not be taken to represent the options being considered by the Government for the future economic relationship between the UK and the EU. The Government has been clear that it is seeking pragmatic and innovative solutions to issues related to the future deep and special partnership that we want with the EU.

76. There are a number of existing arrangements that govern the way in which non-EU Member States trade in consumer goods with the EU. Around the world, other countries have also created arrangements for trading specific categories of consumer goods.

77. Manufacturers from outside of the EU wishing to export construction products to the EU need to meet the requirements set out in the applicable EU legislation. Importers and distributors of construction products from manufacturers based in third countries must satisfy themselves that the products comply with EU legislation, including a
conformity assessment by an EU notified body. These manufacturers would also need to comply with legislative requirements in their home country, and any other countries, where they intend to market products.

78. Countries can use bilateral Mutual Recognition Agreements that allow conformity assessment bodies in either market to carry out product testing and certification to each other’s legislative requirements. The authorities in both parties agree to accept conformity assessment decisions issued by bodies recognised in one another’s
markets. Manufacturers still need to ensure that products meet the requirements set out in the legislation where they plan to market the product.

79. The EU has concluded MRAs with seven countries, covering a variety of sectors. Some of the EU’s bilateral MRAs have been integrated into FTAs, not all of which cover construction products. CETA is an example of an MRA that does cover some construction products, and offers mutual recognition of conformity assessment for eleven sectors including toys and recreational craft. CETA also contains provisions for voluntary cooperation on data exchange to support market surveillance activity and exchange of information about the development of technical regulations.

80. Other existing agreements, such as the EU-Swiss agreements and the EEA Agreement, provide for further mutual recognition. For example the EU-Swiss MRAs provide mutual recognition across around twenty product types, including those in CETA as well as personal protective equipment and are linked to an agreement that recognises Swiss lgislation as equivalent. Where legislation is deemed equivalent,notified bodies’ certificates of conformity with the product rules in the EU will be recognised as proving conformity with Swiss legislation, and vice versa. They also cover cooperation on market surveillance of products already on sale.

81. In the EEA agreement, where there is EU legislation for construction products, EEA countries adopt EU product legislation into their domestic legislation, and goods that originate from these countries are treated as products from member states. Theagreement also includes a system of surveillance and enforcement.

82. Trade in manufactured goods can be facilitated through the use of international standards, such as those developed by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). These are voluntaryagreements on best practice for a given process or product. These standards are voluntary, and the majority are developed purely for commercial purposes, such as tosupport the interoperability of supply chains.

83. There are many customs facilitation arrangements in international agreements. These include the EU’s agreements with a number of third countries, such as Canada, Korea,and Switzerland. These agreements differ in the depth and scope of customs facilitation offered. Examples of customs facilitations include: simplifying customs procedures, advance electronic submission and processing of information before physical arrival of goods, and mutual recognition of inspections and documents certifying compliance with the other parties’ rules.


84. In the absence of a preferential trade agreement, goods imported into the EU from non-EU countries must pay a tariff. Tariffs are custom duties levied on imported goods. Under WTO Most Favoured Nation (MFN), a country’s tariff schedule must be consistent for all countries it trades with, except those where a preferential trade agreement exists. EU MFN tariff rates vary depending on the good.

Rules of Origin

85. The EU includes rules of origin in all of its FTAs, which are restrictions on the originating content of products that exporters must comply with to gain tariff preferences. These rules typically reflect both the supply chains of both the EU and its FTA partner. Many of the EU’s rules of origin arrangements are based on the Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preferential Rules of Origin, which includes provisions that allow producers to treat content from some third countries as if it comes from their own country. Several arrangements aim to reduce the administrative requirements associated with origin certification, including the EU’s Registered Exporter (REX) system, which lets businesses register for self ertificationof origin using an online system, avoiding paper certificates.


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