The European Technical Assessment (ETA) is a document providing information about the performance of a construction product, to be declared in relation to its essential characteristics. This definition is provided in the new Construction Products Regulation (EU/305/2011) entered into force on 1st of July 2013 in all European Members States and in the European Economic Area.
The ETA provides a way for the manufacturer to CE-mark a product. The ETA can be issued in the following cases:
- The product is not or not fully covered by any harmonised technical specification such as European Assessment Documents (EADs) or European Standards (hENs)
- The product is covered by a European Assessment Document (EAD)
The ETA is valid in all 28 European Member States and those of the European Economic Area, as well as in Switzerland and Turkey. The ETA can be obtained upon request by a manufacturer (or its authorised representative) in countries where a Technical Assessment Body (TAB) has been designated according to the Construction Products Regulation. The ETA is the basis for a Declaration of Performance (DoP) to be drawn up by the manufacturer.
The ETA contributes to establish confidence in the performance of the essential characteristics of a construction product for its intended use. The ETA route supports the free movement of construction products and thus the Single European Market.
An ETA contains the following information:
- General information on the manufacturer and the product type, name and manufacturing plant
- Performances of the product to be declared and references to the methods used for its assessment
- Technical details necessary for the implementation of the AVCP system
An ETA which has been issued after 1st of July 2013 is valid of indeterminate duration. On the EOTA website references to issued ETAs are published.
What is important to know about the changes from 1st of July 2013 with regard to ETAs?
ETAs which were issued up to 30 June 2013 (so called European Technical Approvals) remain valid until the end of their validity period. They can be used by manufacturers as European Technical Assessments. This type of ETAs will disappear from the market throughout the year 2018. These ETApprovals were based on ETA Guidelines or issued upon common agreement of the Approval Bodies.
As of 1st of July 2013 ETAs are based on adopted European Assessment Documents (EADs) or ETAGs used as EADs. ETAssessments issued on the basis of “ETAGs used as EADs” remain valid after development of the ETAGs into EADs.
What is important to know about ETAs in the framework of the Construction Products Regulation?
In accordance with regulation (EU) No 305/2011 (CPR), a manufacturer is responsible to provide a declaration of performance (DoP) for a construction product covered by a European Technical Assessment (ETA) which is issued for it, when such a product is placed on the market. The CE marking shall be affixed on this product indicating that the manufacturer is taking responsibility for the conformity of this product with the declared performance.
A European Technical Assessment (ETA) is issued on the basis of a European Assessment Document (EAD), or ETAG used as EAD, which describes the type of product(s) it applies to, the list of essential characteristics in relation to the intended use foreseen by the manufacturer, the methods and criteria for assessing the performance in relation to the essential characteristics, and the principles for the applicable factory production control.
The ETA’s focusses on the claims of the manufacturer, i.e. the essential characteristics the manufacturer wants to declare in relation to the intended use(s) he foresees.
As a consequence of the CPR, its Commission delegated regulations (delegated acts) and further European Commission Services’ interpretation:
- Some essential characteristics that are relevant in a specific type of construction works and/or in certain Member States may not be identified and the associated performances not declared (e.g. a national regulatory requirement not expected in relation to its type or location under the manufacturer’s foreseen intended use), or/and a declared performance may not fit a specific construction work requirement.
Therefore, CE marking based on an ETA supports the placing on those markets the manufacturer is intending to service with its construction product. But, due to (potential) lack of consideration of essential characteristics relevant for certain Member States, it does not necessarily serve the free circulation amongst EU 28 countries.
- The decision on a product-type, i.e. to which product the ETA applies and the content of the declaration of performance that may be drawn up, lies with the manufacturer; the ETA is focusing on the essential characteristics which the manufacturer wants to declare a performance for and, in general, no detailed identification of the assessed product is expected.
Any modification in the product may not be identified or/and traced back to the DoP, referring to the ETA and EAD, when the performances related to the declared essential characteristics are not changed. However such modifications may affect other characteristics that could influence, to a significant extent, the behavior of the product during the construction phase or once installed or incorporated in the construction work.
- The manufacturer is responsible for defining the intended use of his product which is reflected in the ETA. The EAD cannot specify assumptions on the use of the product or on conditions related to its assessment or performance, which will form a requirement, a constraint, on any other similar product to which the EAD may apply. To draw up technical information, of importance for the construction work performance or behavior, related to design and installation, life phase between manufacture and incorporation (e.g. packaging, transport, storage …) or working life (e.g. use, maintenance, replacement or repair) is the responsibility of the manufacturer.
- Assumption on the working life of a construction product in relation to an expected durability, related to its’ assessment or performance, is also being considered as creating a requirement, a constraint, on any other similar product to which the EAD may apply. Therefore, at the request of another manufacturer the related assessment methods and criteria, in another EAD may lead to deviations in the “assumed working life”.
Normally products should be assessed for the aging scenario based on cycles, time to …, etc. It is up to the user to make a decision, based on the manufacturer’s declaration on durability: cycles, time to …, referring to the assessment method given in the EAD, which performance is fitting the expected construction work life.
EOTA members (TAB) have to develop and adopt an EAD following strict rules resulting from the implementation of the CPR, despite their overall competence and technical knowledge on all related aspects for products and their use and behavior in works. The TABs need to disregard some further requests of construction stakeholders on the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector when issuing the ETA based on the EAD.
Based on this information, any and all users remain liable to check and make an appropriate choice that the products made available on their market with harmonized essential characteristics are fitting the whole set of conditions and requirements for the construction work.