Regulatory and standard framework



The legislation

The legislation is set out by the public authorities. It may stem from a bill of law, a regulation, etc. Compliance with the legislation is mandatory and verified by government agencies or accredited bodies.

The legislation in force in a European country may be national (e.g., French legislation) or European (i.e., equally applicable in all European countries).

A standard

A standard embodies the desire of a group of professionals to develop a common language base. A standard is a set of specifications describing an object, an individual or an operating method.It establishes principles that serve as a rule and a technical frame of reference.Compliance with a standard is not mandatory, but voluntary. However, adherence to certain standards may be rendered mandatory through legislation or a bill of law.
Standards may be defined at national level (e.g., the NF standard of AFNOR, the French Standard Institute), European level (e.g., the EN standard of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN)) or international level (the ISO standard of the International Organisation for Standardization).


Certification is the result of a voluntary process undergone by professionals to provide objective proof that they comply with a clearly defined set of specifications. An independent third party, i.e., a certification body, verifies that a product, individual, process or service complies with these specifications. The specifications applicable in the context of certification are the property of the certification body, which is required to publish this information. These specifications may be based on standards and other requirements.The certification body awards a certificate of compliance.
In the case of quality labels or marks, the specifications belong to the label’s recipient. Compliance with the specifications may also be verified and certified by a third-party organisation.

Product regulations

Plywood panels are subject to various French and European regulations :

The European Union Timber Regulation (EUTR) (EU Regulation No. 995/2010) applies to all wood and wood-based products. This regulation bans the sale of timber and derived products stemming from illegal harvests. Consequently, firms are required to provide proof (the « Due Diligence » procedure) of the legality of the wood they market and to develop a foolproof traceability system. These requirements apply to all types of wood and wood-based product circulating within the European Union, regardless of the origin of the raw materials (local or imported). Thus, importers of wood or wood-based products must ensure and be able to prove that the products they import comply with the provisions of the EUTR.

When used as a Construction Product, plywood must meet the requirements set forth in the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) (EU Regulation No. 305/2011). The CPR stems directly from the Construction Products Directive. Other than the additional requirements it entails, the switch from Directive to Regulation status involves the mandatory and uniform application of said regulation in all countries of the European Union, as of the same date (1 July 2013), while the Directive must be transposed into national law to be applicable.

In the EU, before a manufacturer can market a construction product covered by a harmonised standard or which has undergone a European Technical Assessment,the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) requires them to draft a Declaration of Performance and apply the CE mark to the product in question. By drafting a Declaration of Performance and applying the CE mark, the manufacture assumes responsibility for ensuring that their product complies with the level of performance declared.
Requirements for plywood panels are defined in harmonised standard EN 13986:2004 « Wood-based panels for use in construction ».

CE mark

The CE mark applied to a product, its packaging or its accompanying documents attests to its compliance with the harmonised technical specifications. It is up to the manufacturer to apply this CE mark. Products covered by the Construction Products Regulation must feature the CE mark before they can be launched on the market and circulate freely within the European Union.The CE mark is the visual indication that a product may be freely sold within the European Economic Area. It attests to a product’s compliance with all the Regulation’s provisions, responsibility for which lies with its manufacturer or the entity responsible for its launch on the market
This mark provides the consumer with a certain amount of information (year first marked, manufacturer’s identity, product code, DoP no., reference to the harmonised standard, no. of the notified body). It guarantees the product’s compliance with the level of performance declared by the manufacturer (DoP) by setting production control requirements.

DoP (Declaration of Performance)

To market a construction product that is covered by a harmonised standard or has passed a European Technical Assessment, the manufacturer must draft a Declaration of Performance and apply the CE mark. By doing so, the manufacturer guarantees their product’s compliance with the level of performance declared and the applicable requirements.
The Declaration of Performance (formerly known as the Declaration of Compliance) contains a description of the product’s performance, which must be based on the list of essential characteristics defined in the harmonised standard.

Labels providing information on pollutant emissions have been mandatory since 1 January 2012 for construction products, wall coverings and flooring materials. French legislation requires such products (via the Order of 19 April 2011) to indicate, simply and legibly, the quantity of air pollutants they emit. Plywood panels, which are commonly used for interior fittings and furnishings, as well as wall and ceiling coverings, are not exempt from the requirement for construction and decorative products to feature labels indicating their emissions of air pollutants.

Among the products covered by this legislation

are construction products and wall coverings intended for interior use, as well as the products used in their installation or application.These include all partitions, floor coverings, insulating materials, paints, varnishes, glues, adhesives, etc. intended for interior use.
A product’s emission levels are indicated by a rating ranging from A+ (very low emissions) to C (high emissions), based on the same scheme used for electrical appliances and vehicles.
Various other requirements may be indirectly applicable, depending on the way in which the plywood is used. For example, construction contracts in France provide for the obligation to follow the « règles de l’art » or standard practices.This obligation is either regulatory, as in the case of public construction contracts, or contractual, as in the case of private construction contracts.Standard practices are defined and explained in Unified Technical Documents (DTU). Today, DTUs have « harmonised French standard » status and their application is required by the French Insurance Code.


Standard framework

The manufacture of plywood, the determination of its intrinsic performance, the requirements applicable for specific uses, as well as the communication of this performance, are subject to 50 or so French and European reference standards.(The lists provided here are non-exhaustive)

Le contreplaqué, un matériau où rien n’est laissé au hasard !
Environnement normatif