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What is CPR?

The Construction Products Regulations, or CPR for short, is thought to be the biggest change to the cabling industry in decades. To give it its formal name 'EU/305/2011' the Regulation is a European Union directive, set out with an intention of making buildings safer. In 2016 a series of characteristics relating to a cable's reaction to fire were published. This lead to legislation in 2017 that sets out to harmonize these characteristics across all EU countries, via a classification structure.

In this article, we'll take a look at how the CPR regulation affects the specification of cables installed in new construction and refurbishment products.

The introduction of CPR, and specifically a series of classification criteria known as ''Euroclasses' creates a common set of performance characteristics, test, and documentation processes. It also creates a timeline for compliance for all those in the supply chain, from specifiers, through manufacturing and distribution to installation organizations. The objective of CPR is to improve building safety, which is achieved through the set of reaction to fire specifications which enables local regulators and clients to select the performance requirement at national or project level from the Euroclasses which are defined in EN 50575:2014.

Any cable which is deemed to be permanent once installed is within the scope of CPR, covering power, data, and communications cables. In the case of data and communications cables, copper, fiber, coax, and multiconductor cables are covered, with the exception of patch leads.

What is the testing criteria?

CPR focuses purely on a product/materials reaction to fire. All other performance and specification criteria for cables are defined in separate, established standard or vendor-specific documents. In the case of cable, four key characteristics are measured and are central to the classification matrix that customers and regulators will use to specify the minimum and maximum required specification, these are:

  • Propagation and Heat Emission
  • Smoke Emission
  • Burning Droplets
  • Acid Gas Emission 

The individual performance standard required for each of these four measures can be found below.

Declaration of Performance

DoPs (Declarations of Performance) are legal documents prepared by manufacturers and are placed in the public domain, following testing by independent organisations known as 'notified bodies'. The degree of testing required is dependent on the Euroclass to which the declaration is required eg. Eca and Dca product samples are tested, at the higher end, CCa and above are tested. This test process includes both a factory audit and product test.

Euroclasses

The Euroclass system determines a product's fire performance by measuring a comprehensive set of characteristics, including ignitability, flame spread, heat release, smoke production, and propensity for producing flaming droplets/particles.

Classes are designated through the use of codes, prefixed with letters that declare reaction to fire, from A (no reaction) to F (undetermined) as indicated in the table to the right. Within each code, there are up to four elements, as follows:

Propogation & Heat Emission

Aca - They do not contribute to the fire

B1ca / B2ca - Minimum contribution to the fire

Cca / Dca / Eca - Combustible, they contribute to the fire. Range from low (Cca) to higher (Eca)

Fca - Undetermined contribution properties

Smoke Emission

S1 - Little smoke production and slow smoke propagation

S1a - Transmittance > 80%

S1b - Transmittance > 60% and < 80%

S2 - Average smoke production and propogation

S3 - None of the above

Burning Droplets

d0 - No burning droplets

d1 - No burning droplets for more than 10 seconds

d2 - None of the above

Acid Gas Emission

a1 - Conductivity <2.5 µS/mm and pH > 4.3
a2 - Conductivity <10 µS/mm and pH > 4.3
a3 - None of the above

Stay Compliant

So what can you do to stay compliant? Cables manufactured after July 2017 intended for permanent installation within a domestic, residential or commercial building, or any other civil structure should have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) available, as mentioned above. This document shows critical information such as manufacturer's name, product type and class met.

By law, manufacturers or anyone importing cables from outside the EU need to keep records of CPR compliant cables sold and be able to provide DoP documentation for up to 10 years after it was first sold. 

The cable itself does not have to be printed or embossed to show CPR compliance, however the regulation is very clear that the packaging (usually a drum, spool or box) must carry specific information, almost always on a label. This will include the CE mark, DoP reference and unique product type. 

For more information on our CPR compliant products, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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