CE marking is used to allow the free trade of products within the EU. The basic rule is that it should be possible for a product that is CE marked to move across Europe’s internal borders without any national marking requirements or control of what is included in the CE marking.
The background to CE marking can be found in the Construction Products Directive and in technical standards. For ceilings and ceiling products, the applicable standard is “EN 13964: Suspended ceilings – requirements and test methods”. It covers all kinds of products and materials that can be found in a ceiling, such as plasterboard, metal cassettes, wooden panels and mineral wool. Grids and assembly accessories are also included. This means that all manufacturers on the European market must comply with the same standard, leading to harmonisation of reporting on different product properties, thereby simplifying the comparison of different ceilings by consultants, architects, purchasers and installers.
The most important properties to be declared in the CE marking are:
Mechanical properties (tensile strength and load bearing capacity)
Resistance to moisture
Acoustic properties (sound absorption and sound insulation)
Emissions (i.e. release of hazardous substances)
The standard specifies which test methods should be used, how the results should be interpreted and the classifications that can be used. Most of the test methods, such as measurement of sound absorption, are included in other standards that apply to many different types of construction products and not only to ceilings.
The properties can apply both to individual products or complete ceiling systems but all of the properties cannot be applied to all products. An individual grid profile (e g Connect T24) cannot be CE marked for sound absorption. The relevant properties for metal profiles are mechanical, corrosion and fire safety. Furthermore, a single profile or ceiling panel cannot be CE marked for sound insulation; the whole ceiling system must be considered.