What is Construction Products Regulation and what does it mean for your network?
When Construction Products Regulation, or CPR for short, was introduced in 2017, it was considered the biggest change for the cabling industry in decades. What is it all about and why should you care?
CPR 'lays down harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU'. What that means in layman’s terms is that all cables used in permanent installations within buildings must come with a fire rating in accordance with the CPR’s classification system.
It means that when you’re deciding which cables to install, as part of boosting your IT infrastructure, you can make informed decisions according to the environment as well as the level of risk. The safer the cabling, the safer the environment.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT SAFETY GROUPS?
The regulation classifies products into one of seven classes known as ‘Euroclasses’. These are:
Aca: Does not contribute to the fire
B1ca: Minimum contribution to the fire
B2ca: Combustible, low flame spread & heat release contribution to the fire
Cca: Combustible, moderate flame spread and heat release
Dca: Combustible, moderate flame spread and high levels of heat generated
Eca: Combustible, limited fire spread of less than 425mm
Fca: Combustible, fire spread of more than 425mm
Euroclasses B to D will also be classified according to smoke production (classified as s1 to s3), flaming droplets (d0 to d2), and smoke acidity (a1 to a3). That’s why you might see a classification like Cca s1b d2 a2.
Manufacturers are required to send their cables off to be tested by an authorised test house, known as a Notified Body. Once the tests have been made, the cable will be given a Declaration of Performance, which is the official certificate showing how it was classified.
At Euroclasses Cca and above, the factories manufacturing the cable will be regularly audited and cables retested by an approved third party. It is unlikely that many cables will adhere to Class B1ca and Aca requirements, simply because of the materials used in their manufacture.
DO NETWORK CABLES NEED TO CONFORM WITH THE CPR?
In short, yes. No network cable can be placed on the market for permanent installation inside buildings without first being tested and given a Euroclass rating.
As per British Standard BS6701:2016+A1:2017, all network cabling used in new installations or for the refurbishment or extension of existing data cable networks within the external fire barrier of a building shall, as a minimum, meet the CPR compliance requirements of Euroclass Cca s1b d2 a2.
Due to the construction of data network cables, and the way they are routed, fire can rapidly spread through a building should a cable alight. Given the growing bandwidth demands – with a large number of devices now being networked in the case of most systems – it’s crucial that cabling is manufactured to minimum standards.
Now, you can assess what cabling you might need in line with your networking demands, and minimise the fire hazard. At least, in theory…
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?
Attempting to understand what exactly it is that you need when expanding your IT infrastructure can be difficult. That’s where Whitestar Solutions comes in.
Initially, we’ll come and carry out a commitment-free site survey. By visiting the site, we can work out your exact requirements and help you understand your safety risk.
From there, we’ll provide you with a number of options – explaining how each one fits in with the CPR – so you can make those informed decisions which will impact you and those people who work in the building.
Whatever option you go with, you can rest assured that our in-house qualified network infrastructure design will create a system to keep your company’s network safe and secure.
To find out how Whitestar can improve your network cabling infrastructure in line with the CPR, get in touch with our team today.