Most of us will have noticed the existence of the CE marking on various product categories such as computers, televisions, mobile phones, toys, rechargeable batteries, etc. The CE marking is not a quality mark or a trade name.

CE comes from the initials of the French words Conformité Européenne” which in Greek means European Conformity.

This means that products that fall under the CE marking must comply with the National & European Legislation and the relevant harmonised standards. The purpose of the CE marking is to ensure the minimum safety levels of products so that the end user is protected. All products that fall under the New Approach Directives of the European Union will be required to bear the CE marking in order to circulate freely in the European market. Otherwise they should be withdrawn because they do not provide the minimum levels of security to the user.

As regards the construction sector, among the other products covered by the CE marking are frames (regardless of the material of construction), covers (shutters, blinds, screens), glazing, industrial and garage doors, as well as glazing. For all the above products, specific tests and procedures should be carried out by the fabricator of the products in order to ensure the safety of the user.

For frames the CE marking is mandatory from 01/02/2010 and there is a requirement to carry out a series of tests to check some critical product characteristics. The properties that should be tested according to Greek Law and European Standards are the following:

  • Wind permeability
  • Waterproofing
  • Wind pressure resistance
  • Capability to comply with the safety regulations
  • Hazardous substance leackage (from the inside)
  • Sound insulation (Rw)
  • Thermal insulation (Uw coefficient)

The fabricator of the frames should draw up a declaration of performance for the products he fabricates. The declaration of performance is taken as a solemn declaration and should be given to the customer when requested. In addition, the customer should receive an accompanying document stating the performance of the product after the tests performed.

The products that bear the CE marking have been tested in specialized laboratories according to the requirements of the European Standards. Fabricators who CE mark the frames they sell to their customers, follow a series of procedures that ensure that the frames the customer buys have similar properties to those tested in the laboratory.

More specifically, the frames have been tested for their ability to withstand adverse conditions of pressure exerted by the air, which are often accompanied by rainfall. In addition, the frames should not emit hazardous substances and should offer sound and thermal insulation.

The customer, by purchasing products that are CE marked and report their performance on the tests that have been carried out, can compare and choose from a variety of certified and safe products.

In addition to the accompanying CE marking form, the customer should also receive appropriate instructions for the operation and maintenance of the frames he buys. In addition, a guarantee should be given for the frames delivered, with a minimum duration of 2 years.

At this point, I should mention that the purchaser of the frames should choose reliable and certified fabricators who are able to provide frames that are correctly fabricated and meet the requirements of CE marking. This is the only way to ensure that the products that will be installed in the home, meet all the required specifications.

Another important point regarding the frames is the thermal insulation they offer to the home of each buyer. According to the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulation (KENAK), which has been in force since July 2010, some maximum values of thermal transmittance (Uw) have been set, which should not be exceeded by any frame installed in the Greek territory.

The lower the thermal transmittance value of each frame, the better its thermal performance. This means better energy savings for the benefit of the end user. This energy has to do with heating or cooling the home, which means that an investment in an energy-efficient aluminium frame will pay for itself very soon, considering the upcoming increases in heating oil, gas and electricity.

The customer should ask for the thermal transmittance values which will prove the performance of the frame. These values are also necessary for the issuance of the energy efficiency certificate for each house.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the customer should also receive CE marked covers (shutters, blinds, screens). The certified covers have been tested for wind pressure resistance and have been classified according to their behaviour during the test. The fabricator should select the appropriate type depending on the location of the house where the frames are to be installed. This should be done to ensure that in adverse weather conditions no damage will occur that could endanger the safety of the consumer.

In this case too, the customer should be provided with accompanying documentation on the product’s resistance to testing, as well as maintenance and operating instructions.

Dr. Stelios Lambrakopoulos
Certification Consultant
Director of Studies of the Institute of Aluminium Structures