European normalisation

The CEN committee TC 350 ‘Circular Economy in the Construction Sector’ responds to European developments relating to sustainable buildings and products and designs a series of voluntary European CEN assessment methods in which indicators are mentioned.

The CEN assessment methods are intended to assess the sustainability of structures through the environmental impact of construction materials and products. Producers can issue Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) based on a CEN standard sheet. Using an EPD, including for the scenarios applicable for the Netherlands, then serves as input for assessing a building’s environmental performance.

The European CEN standard sheet for EPDs of construction products, EN 15804, was published in 2012. EN 15978 was published to assess the environmental performance of buildings.

Implementing European harmonised assessment methods in the Dutch situation

The Environmental Performance Assessment Method for Buildings and Civil Engineering structures is based on European assessment methods EN 15804 and EN 15978, with scenarios applicable to the Netherlands. The CEN assessment methods are voluntary in nature for now. This may change if the European Commission issues a mandate to CEN to develop harmonised assessment methods for environmental performance. Once CEN has accepted the mandate, this will lead to a standstill for the affiliated national standardisation bodies, including NEN. NEN will also be obliged to withdraw standard sheets containing assessment methods that CEN has also published.

In principle, the standstill does not apply to Stichting NMD, nor does the obligation to withdraw the Assessment Method. Stichting NMD can also continue to use its own Assessment Method. The Dutch government is also free to refer to that method, as long as there is no conflict with product level harmonised assessment methods that fall under the CPR.

NEN is represented in the CEN committee and has set up a Dutch shadow committee to coordinate content input. As long as the European assessment methods at building level are not in force, Stichting NMD will convert the European standards into the Dutch Assessment Method, with the input of specific Dutch choices. We will duplicate the European regulations as far as possible. Stichting NMD coordinates this with Dutch actors in various fora.