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Is it compulsory the CE mark on building elements used in our home? | Answer to reader´s question

I have read your article in the Costa Blanca News for a while. Can you advise on the following?


An issue has arisen where an owner on our community fell through his patio doors which turned out to be plain glass and not toughened or safety glass.  I am told the glass was not etched with any CE, EN number or manufactures identification.  


The patio doors and all our windows in our apartment are marked with SGG CLIMALIT but no CE or EN markings. In the UK if the glass did not comply with glazing in critical areas requirements we could claim under the NHBC warranty in years 2-10 of the policy, can we in Spain? The buildings on our development were constructed in phases between about 2004 to 2007. Regards.


Dear Reader,

Let us explain first for the benefit of the rest of readers what the CE mark means. The CE Mark originates from the French "Conformité Européenne” or European Conformity and it is a European brand name for certain groups of industrial products or services. Originated by 93/68/EEC Directive.


What is CE marking?

The CE marking ( ) is a technical passport when applied to a product and indicates its compliance with European standards that in this case corresponds to the (UNE EN 14351-1 for external windows and doors). This means that the product may be marketed throughout the EU, although the architect must ensure that the product also complies with the local building legislation, for example in Spain we must comply with the requirements of CTE (Código Técnico de la Edificación) our National Building Regulations.


When the CE marking does come into force?

The CE marking for windows and doors was established by the European Commission Communication 2006 / C 304/01 (OJ 13/12/2006), which has been converted into Spanish law through a decree on April 17th of 2007 and published on the BOE 05/05/2007 where it specifies that it will be mandatory on the 1st February, 2010.


If you comply with the CE marking you have fulfilled the CTE regulations?

No, it isn´t the same. You may have the CE marking on a product and not to comply with the CTE and I think here is where the crux of the question lays.


So, what does the CTE instruct regarding patio doors?

In its section SU 2 in its paragraph 1.3 “Impacts with fragile elements” first identifies the area of glazing which the norm applies.


On a door, this area is as follow: 1,5m measured vertically from finished floor level and extending 0,30m horizontally to both side of the door frame.


On a fixed glass panel, on an area 0,90m vertically from finished floor level (I am afraid this is better understood on a sketch that I can’t reproduce here).


Once we have established the area where the norm needs applying the norm take into account the difference in floor level on both side of the door or fixed panel i.e. you can have a fixed glass panel and beyond a four storey high drop.


If the difference in height on both sides of the door is between 0.55m and 12m, the level of impact required for that glass is 2 as specified on the UNE norm 12600:2003.


If the difference of level between both sides of the door is larger than 12m the impact level is 1.


In the rest of cases the level of impact that the glass should resist is 3 all according to above mentioned UNE norm. Being 1 a more secure glass than level 3.


Conclusions.

From the information that you have provided, it seem that the EC marking for the door glass panel was not required, as the building was built between 2004 and 2007 and the CE marking for external door and windows came into force in Spain on 1st February, 2010.


However the CTE code became compulsory on the 29th of March of 2007 for the section “Security within the buildings”, which take into account all aspects regarding doors, windows balconies etc. and would apply to those buildings that did not have made a building licence application before the above date of 29th of March of 2007.


Regarding the 2 and the 10 years warranty as I specified on my article on the 10th of September “La LOE the building Bible in Spain”


All agents are responsible for any defects during the following periods of time.

1) Ten years for all structural elements.

2) Three years for all construction elements that may affect, energy saving, noise insulation, user´s health but exclude finishes.

3) One year for finishes. 


It is mandatory that the property developer has an indemnity insurance to cover all structural defects as stated in paragraph 1). Paragraphs 2) and 3) are still awaiting new legislation to regulate them.


So at the moment the only warranty that a property developer must comply with, is the ten year guarantee for structural elements.

 

Comentarios: 5
  • #5

    Alan Chapman (jueves, 08 marzo 2018 16:04)

    Hola Juan,
    Thanks for the information, I will follow the development of your site with interest. I am currently in London visiting my grandchildren and took the opportunity to visit Ecobuild. These are exciting and challenging times given the necessity of designing for future climate change. I try to keep up to date by using sites like https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Category:Products_/_components. If you are aware of any groups of construction professionals meeting in Malaga, that would be open to discussing these topics with me, please let me know. It would be an opportunity to improve my Spanish.

  • #4

    Juan Pacheco (domingo, 04 marzo 2018 12:38)

    Morning Alan,

    I am afraid that the listing that you refer to does not exist in Spain, that is why we are working very hard to establish our blog as a point of reference for the expat in all concerning construction, planning energy efficiency architecture etc in Spain.
    Any advice on this matter from you is more than welcome.

    I am not surprise, here in Spain our government legislate more than one million pages every year (see this link https://www.spanisharchitect.info/search?q=million+pages&filter=0&module=7175380561) and we are compelled to take courses almost every month just to keep up to date so a local builder or trader would not be able to keep up to date even if he tries.

    Regards

    Juan

  • #3

    Alan Chapman (domingo, 04 marzo 2018 12:20)

    Thank you Juan for your prompt reply. You are absolutely correct in stating that minor works in the UK is not inspected for building regulations compliance. However, there is readily available information on the internet ,listing specialist trades who can self certify that their work complies with the building regulations. Do similar sites or trade bodies exist in Spain. My nearest town is Álora, and the local glazing companies there seem unaware of the requirements for safety glass in doors and windows.

  • #2

    Juan Pacheco (sábado, 03 marzo 2018 12:48)

    I am afraid that I have not expressed my self correctly. The CEE marking does not necessarily imply that the glass has to be of a safety type.
    The factor that has the biggest repercussion in residential use is the difference of height at both sides of the glass. The idea is the falling of person through the glass and the falling parts of the glass to people underneath.
    And yes, you are absolutely correct, work being carried out under a minor works licence has no enforcement of building regulations in Spain, but I may add, nor in the UK.
    If you want to replace a window or a door in the UK, you don’t require the inspection of the council`s surveyor that is why in any country when a minor job is required at home is always better to put yourself on the hand of a reputable tradesman.
    I hope I have been of help.

    Juan Pacheco



  • #1

    Alan Chapman (miércoles, 28 febrero 2018 17:20)

    I am currently researching full height double glazing for my house in Malaga province. You state that the CE regulations require the use of safety glass, however I have received several quotations from uPVC and Aluminium glazing companies who have quoted for using 4/16/4 float glass in situations requiring either toughened or laminated safety glass. The work is being carried out under a minor works licence and it appears that there is no enforcement of building regulations for minor works in Spain. I should be grateful for your thoughts on this matter.