Setting the standard
If national test standards were fruit then companies had to deal with more than just apples and oranges – there would have been strawberries, raspberries and lemons too. For wholesalers and customers the situation just a few years ago was simply bananas and had to change!
Of course things did change, in August 2012. That was when the European Construction Products Regulation (CPR) came into effect for pipe insulation materials and flexible elastomeric foams (FEF) in particular. The CPR brought with it a set of “harmonised” test standards for the most important product characteristics – and with it an end to the incompatible “apples and oranges” system of national test standards that made fair comparisons between products incredibly difficult.
EN 14304 & the CE mark
The most important European standard introduced for FEF pipe insulation is, without question, EN 14304. As a product standard for FEF, EN 14304 defines which test standards should be used to determine performance in a number of different areas.
In particular EN 14304 requires that all FEF insulation materials should use the same thermal conductivity test standards (EN ISO 8497 and EN 12667) and the same water vapour resistance test standards (EN 13469 and EN 12086). Fire performance should only be evaluated in accordance with EN 13501-1, the “Euroclass” system that has now rendered all of the older national fire standards obsolete.
An industry united
The harmonised standards for FEF insulation have broad support from CEFEP, the FEF/PEF interest group that represents European manufacturers.
Recently the CEFEP group has put out a strong press release explaining EN 14304 and underlining the importance of CE marking. It is a legal obligation for wholesalers to check that material they offer for sale is CE marked and all CEFEP members ensure that this is the case for their products.
The CEFEP press release can be read online by following the link at the end of this article.