The development of European Standards is part of the EU’s Construction Products Directive which the UK is signed up to implement. It was conceived to allow free passage of construction materials within the EU economic zone, thereby increasing economic activity and making it easier to trade products across Europe. All construction materials and products are covered by this process.
Clay brick is still one of Europe’s most popular building materials. The previous British Standard Specification for clay bricks, BS 3921, has been completely replaced by a new European CEN Standard Specification for clay masonry units, BS EN 771–1. This European Standard has now been published in the UK as one of the BS EN series of standards.
The changeover from Specification Standard BS 3921 to the new European Norm BS EN 771–1 has now been fully implemented. There was a period of transition, called the co–existence period. During that co-existence period, both Standards operated in tandem and clay brick could have been specified and used quite acceptably by either alternative. However, since April 1st 2006, BS EN 771–1 remains the only Specification Standard.
A similar situation exists for clay paver products where former Specification Standard BS 6677: Part 1 has now been withdrawn and replaced by BS EN 1344.
In parallel with the introduction of BS EN 771–1, a number of other existing brick and masonry standards will be revised to support BS EN 771–1, particularly regulations-related guidance documents, such as user codes of practice. BSI Publication PAS 70, published in Autumn 2003, additionally supports certain site use aspects of clay brick specified to BS EN 771–1.
Changes in standards have affected the way in which bricks and pavers are technically defined, but it has not changed the uses in which they can be applied.
The main points are:
Product Conformity: The CE Mark
The CE mark is the EU’s conformity mark for all products covered by its various directives; toys and electrical goods are examples of its current use. The mark is intended to demonstrate that the product complies with certain requirements within the relevant European Standards.
What about the great British brick?
The size, shape and colour of bricks across Europe have greatly contributed to the urban environment that has grown up over the centuries. Product types and construction practices vary greatly. For this reason the new European CEN Standards have supporting information relevant to each country of use.
The UK – like most EU member states – now has its own National Annex, published as part of BS EN 771–1 to provide informative guidance to specifiers/users. The National Annex is not a formal part of the Standard and will vary from one EU member state to another.
For example, BS EN 771–1 distinguishes between High Density (HD) and Low Density (LD) clay masonry units. The UK National Annex provides guidance on the fact that all clay bricks currently produced and traded within the UK are of HD classification.
The National Annex to BS EN 1344: 2002 for clay pavers has also been published, providing the linking user guidance between the former BS 6677: Part 1(now withdrawn) and BS EN 1344 in the United Kingdom.
The annex provides specification guidance on other aspects of HD type clay brick, such as:
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