Here we speak to Werner Braun, head of quality at AVVIO GmbH & Co KG, about the changing regulatory environment, and surveillance authority activities, that could impact ETA holders in 2022.
What will change in the legal requirements for European Technical Assessments (ETAs) in 2022?
“A steady increase in regulatory requirements can be seen in the field of construction products over recent years. For screws used in timber constructions, several new versions of the relevant standards (EN 14592 and EAD 130118) have come out over the last couple of years, and with them great uncertainty in connection with currently applicable requirements.
At the same time, the activity of national surveillance authorities is increasing and more and more often there are complaints and possible penalties involved. BREXIT and the new UKCA Marking, which was due to replace CE Marking for the UK market at the beginning of 2022, but has now been postponed until 2023, are just a couple of examples that will present concerned manufacturers with even more challenges.”
Where is there an acute need for action?
“On the one hand, we see a particular need for information during the ETA creation process. Many participants are not aware in detail of the various options for obtaining an ETA and the associated benefits and risks. So-called ‘reproduction ETAs’ are one example. In this case, the future ETA holder does not take the usual, costly and time-consuming route of creating an entirely new ETA, but instead enters into an agreement with the original holder of an existing ETA to create a ‘Copy ETA’. The exact content of such agreements is naturally of particular importance in order to avoid risks for both parties.
Another example is the obligations of the ETA holder and other market participants such as importers or distributors. For example, the question of how to correctly label a construction product, i.e what information is mandatory to include on a label and who is responsible for it? Is a matter of constant uncertainty, partly because the relevant standards leave a lot of room for interpretation.”
What would you advise companies that are already ETA owners or want to become one?
“Creating an ETA and using it as a basis for CE Marking are clearly defined and regulated processes. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of effort and, in the best case, quite some experience to implement them correctly. Therefore, especially in the area of regulation and approvals, we recommend not to take unnecessary risks, but work with experts who have a lot of experience with the dynamic regulatory environment, as well as with the specific technical and logistical requirements of a manufacturer.
We at AVVIO offer a unique package of experience, as we have been dealing precisely with the topics of manufacturing and approval of fasteners for structural timber engineering for more than 35 years now – using internal upfront product tests to ensure the necessary performance.”www.avvio.at/en/eta
Having joined the magazine in 2012, Claire developed her knowledge of the industry through the numerous company visits, exhibitions and conferences she attended both in the UK and abroad.
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