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30 June 2017

The 1st of July 2017 is a date that should be in the diary of every cable manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler in the UK because that is the date the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) for cable comes into effect.

Its introduction is nothing short of a game-changer for the sector for two reasons.  Firstly, there will now be a legal requirement for cable to perform to the standards claimed and secondly, it passes responsibility for the standard of the cable down the supply chain.  Where previously product standards were exclusively the province of the manufacturer, now the importers, distributors and wholesalers share the responsibility of ensuring the cable performs as it should.

The CPR is being introduced to ensure that all cables used for permanent installation in buildings are assessed, classified and approved to agreed performance criteria.  The performance being tested relates specifically to the cable’s reaction to fire – that is to say, the way the cable materials behave in a fire rather than the ability of the cable to resist the effect of fire.

Declaration of Performance (DoP)

To be CPR compliant, a cable must to be accompanied by a Declaration of Performance (DoP) to demonstrate that it has been tested and certified by an independent testing house to comply with the relevant euroclass performance and to have a CE mark that is compliant with CPR guidelines. 

As a leading global manufacturer of high quality cables, Prysmian has taken the requirements of the CPR on board. All of our cables that are intended for permanent use in a building will have a DoP and will be CE marked as required by CPR. The only exceptions at the moment are fire resistant cables which are not yet covered by the CPR regulations. 

Role of the Distributor and Wholesaler

The really significant change, however, is in the role of the distributor and wholesaler both of whom are now responsible for ensuring that the cable they supply is CPR compliant. In other words, it is the distributor’s responsibility to ensure the product has a DoP, that it is correctly CE marked and that this information is available to the customer when making a sale.

It gets even more interesting where a distributor imports a cable from outside the EU. In that instance the distributor has to take responsibility for the cable they import.  The distributor must not only be sure that the product has the appropriate DoP and CE marking, but must also mark the cable with their own details. Should any question subsequently arise as to whether the cable performs to the appropriate standard, the liability will rest with the distributor.   

Continuing with the theme of passing responsibility down the supply chain, it is also worth mentioning that under the CPR it is the distributor’s and wholesaler’s responsibility to ensure that when they store and transport cables that the cable is protected from damage so as not to jeopardise the cable’s DoP.

Shared Responsibility

Up to this point it has been the responsibility of manufacturers alone to ensure their products perform as they should. Prysmian, for example, has made a significant investment in product testing facilities and quality assurance procedures. Now that responsibility is being shared across the cable supply sector so that we all - manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and distributors – are required to ensure the cable we supply will perform as it should. 

Although it will involve some additional work, responsible manufacturers such as Prysmian welcome the introduction of the CPR because its impact will be hugely beneficial for the cable sector by helping eliminate the problem of substandard cables from the market - which has to be to everyone’s benefit. 

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