Inside Networks magazine recently asked Boston Networks Operations Director, Paul Goodbrand, how the new Construction Products Regulation (CPR) will impact those involved in the design, specification, installation and use of structured cabling systems? How much will it do to reduce the consequences of fire and will it help reduce the amount of counterfeit or non-standards compliant cable on the market?
The new Construction Products Regulation will have an impact on everyone involved in structured cabling, from designers and specifiers to installers and end-users, and all to varying degrees. Once the regulations are fully implemented in the UK, all will have an obligation to refer to the harmonised technical standards and to understand new fire safety performance levels for buildings.
We’ve been delivering intelligent networks into major construction projects for many years now, so are aware of the risks large volumes of cabling can bring. Therefore, we set our own minimum standards to use Halogen Free, Flame Retardant-Low Smoke (HFFR-LS), which couple flame retardancy with low emissions of smoke and dangerous acidic gases, some time ago
Support from the leading cable manufacturers we partner with will help to ensure a smooth transition once the UK decides exactly how CPR safety levels will be implemented within its own regulations, and they come into force. For UK businesses, the new regulations will mean that all cables intended to be permanently installed in buildings from July 1st 2017 must carry a CE mark and a Fire Safety Euroclassification level.
The full implementation of Construction Products Regulation will apply higher safety product standards to better protect buildings and occupants, reducing the rapid spread of fire and harmful emissions. As the most common cause of death through fire is being overcome by gas or smoke, the introduction of higher standards, especially for buildings where large numbers reside, can only improve safety.
Regulations currently advise the use of low smoke halogen free materials for large communal areas, such as train stations, universities, and hospitals. However, once fully implemented the new regulations will bring much needed nationwide standards for the fire performance of cables. These higher euroclassifiaction levels can be voluntarily adopted today by end-users who are looking to protect their occupants and assets.
The competitiveness of the market will always run the risk of lower cost cables installations. The introduction of CE marking through CPR will reduce the use of substandard and non-compliant cables; however, the responsibility lies with those procuring, so the best way to negate risk is to partner with a reputable manufacturer or distributor and experienced installer.