Why are cables affected by the CPR?
The CPR Regulation defines as construction product all those products designed to be permanently incorporated into construction works, in the broadest sense, not only considering building but also civil engineering works. .
Cables have been considered as construction products, and they are the only electrical products classified as construction products. Therefore, power, telecommunications, data and control cables are included. Cables designed for connecting appliances or for internal wiring of equipment or electrical appliances, and all those cables that are not used as cables for construction are excluded.
What characteristics must the cables satisfy with respect to the CPR?
The CPR regulates and establishes the characteristics that construction materials must satisfy with respect to fire. Therefore, the cables are only affected by the safety specifications in the case of fire (resistance and reaction to fire) and hazardous substances (emission and content). The other technical characteristics are defined in the regular standards.
The fire reaction of a cable has three relevant aspects: firstly, the contribution to fire propagation by the heat given off in the actual combustion of the cable and by the burning particles given off; secondly, the amount and transparency of the smoke emitted; and finally, the acidity of the gases given off.
We can define fire resistance as the capacity of a cable to maintain the electrical service of an installation during a fire. The greater fire resistance of a cable, the easier it will be to keep the emergency services in operation and therefore, permit evacuation. The standard that will develop this aspect is still in its draft phase.
Finally, the declaration of hazardous substances, their emission and content, indicates which components and in what proportion they are emitted in normal conditions of use, not of fire, by the cables, in order to preserve the environment. The fact that the content of hazardous substances has been taken into account will be indicated in the DoP of each product, although no criteria have yet been defined to determine them.
By way of conclusion, of the three aspects contemplated by the CPR, the most relevant one at this time is fire reaction, and including but not limited to the declaration of hazardous substances. The fire resistance aspect is still pending legal development.