Most cables designed for permanent installation within domestic, residential and commercial buildings are now subject to the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), covered by BS EN 50575. This became a legal requirement in July 2017 so it is important you understand how to stay compliant.
BS EN 50575 enables designers and installers to consider the contribution that cables make to the spread of fire. Cables are a particular concern as they run between rooms and floors, above ceilings and are often made from flammable materials. They can also be a source of ignition if badly installed, damaged or faulty.
The regulation classifies products into one of seven classes (see Table 1), but in most instances, only five classes will apply to cables. Classes Fca and Eca undertake a basic vertical flame test to BS EN 60332-1-2. If there is a high level of flammability, it would be classified to Class Fca. However, for the cable to meet the requirements of Class Eca, the test has to be conducted with limited flammability by an authorised test house, known as a Notified Body (NB). Tests by NB’s carry a significant cost. We have invested in equipment for testing to BS EN 60332-1-2. This enables us to understand how cables will perform and where appropriate, classify to Class Fca.
Some cable ranges have many different core combinations and each size may have to be tested individually. Costs can quickly add up therefore many products may only be classified to Class Eca for economic reasons, although if tested, can meet higher classifications.
Classes Dca, Cca and B2ca also apply to cables. Like Class Eca, the tests are conducted by a Notified Body but could cost tens of thousands of pounds to classify per group of cables. At Classes Cca and above, the factories manufacturing the cable will be regularly audited and cables retested by an approved third party at an additional cost. It is unlikely that many cables will meet the requirements of Class B1ca and Aca, simply due to the materials they are made of.
It is up to the designer, specifier or installer to satisfy themselves that the products chosen are appropriate for the application and meet any contractual requirements. It is important to note that at the moment, CPR-classified products can be used, whatever their Euroclass, providing they are contractually acceptable. When specifying cable, take care to assess the risk of fire within a building and the potential ease of evacuation. Airports, hospitals, prisons, tunnels and high-rise buildings all offer their own unique challenges and should be assessed individually.
In some parts of Europe, the national regulatory body is defining which class should be used in a specific application; the UK has not taken this approach. The publication of BS 6701:2016+A1:2017 gives specifiers and consultants a set of guidelines for telecommunications cables and could be used to form the basis of a commercial contract, although this is supplementary to the IET Wiring Regulations.
The publication of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations later this year will not specify Euroclasses for specific applications, however some supplementary standards such as BS 6701:2016+A1:2017 may apply. Specifiers and installers need to ensure the cables they select are appropriate for the fire risks in the building or application.
Table 1: Outline of the Euroclass tables for CPR rated products
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. 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. If purchasing FSC or Tru brand CPR compliant cable, you can easily download your CPR documentation straight to your mobile, tablet or desktop through our CPR downloads tool. Simply follow this link and enter the DoP reference from the cable drum label to download your CPR document.
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. All FSC-marked cables carry a batch number to give full traceability regarding when and where the cable was made and also the materials used to manufacture that specific batch.
As part of the commitment to meet current regulations, FS Cables stock over 800 CPR-compliant cables including Alternative to Belden cables, structured wiring, fibre, coax, signal & control and power cables. You can view the full range here or browse our CPR Compliant cable ranges below.