The EuGH judgement and its effects on cement and concrete

21. July 2015

On 16 October 2014, the European court of justice (EuGH) passed a judgement that will greatly affect national standards and rules. The EuGH considers the Federal Republic of Germany in violation of the building products directive because national requirements in addition to the European harmonised building products imposed by the German building supervision impair market access of building products with the CE-sign from other European member states.

The judgement is targeted at national additional provisions for the following 3 product groups:

  • Sealing effect of elastomer pipe seals
  • Glowing of insulation materials of rock wool
  • Fire behaviour of gates without fire and flame protection properties

Although cement and concrete are not directly affected by this, it is assumed that this will have a signal effect for all building products.

European standardisation law intends that no further national provisions with additional requirements to building products must be demanded where there are European harmonised product standards. Examples of this are the cement standard EN 197 or standardisation of fly ash by the EN 450. The standard for EN 12620 rock grains is also a European harmonised standard. Products produced, monitored and sold under these standards bear the CE-mark and therefore can be freely treated on the European market.

In Germany, greater requirements to the building products have been imposed by additional national provisions so far. The high quality and production level in Germany has been cited as a reason. An example of this is the use of co-combustion materials when producing fly ash. Since such requirements are not defined in EN 450, co-combustion was provided for by a “general building-supervision approval” of the DIBT (Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik). The product then receives a national Ü-mark in addition to the CE-mark. This demand that the national Ü-mark is needed in addition to the CE-mark is to no longer apply in future. Such national requirements to products subject to harmonised standards violates free movement of goods, impairs market access and is therefore not admissible according to the court’s view.

What are the effects of this on cement and concrete?

The concrete standard EN 206-1 is not a harmonised standard. The member states therefore may define supplementary national rules for it. This is because the European standardisation commission wanted to accommodate national peculiarities and climate differences. Therefore, DIN 1045-2 was developed in Germany. At the moment, the judgement therefore does not limit use of the standard package EN 206-1/DIN 1045-2.

Cements for which the composition corresponds to the harmonised EN 197-1 will, of course, continue unchanged. Cements that belong to the national provisions of DIN 1164-10, DIN 1164-11 and DIN 1164-12 are not affected either. These provide for special properties (NA, FE, SE and HO) for which there are no harmonised European standards yet.

Cements according to EN 197 with building-supervisory approval area a special case. These include CEM II/B-M (V-LL) 32.5 R-AZ. In this case, expanded application is provided for in the exposure classes of DIN 1045-2. These application approvals (AZ) of the DIBT continue to apply. In the long term, these national approvals will be replaced by other evidence methods that are currently being developed. The deadlines for this exist until about 2020.


The effects of the EuGH-judgement will lead to fundamental changes to the national rules. The next weeks and months will show how quickly and in what manner the change to the building rules list B will take place.

It will be indispensable to participate more strongly in the European standardisation process in future. Only this way can we ensure that the high demands that we in Germany have to our building products will be anchored in the European standards as well. Additional requirements to building products by national provisions will no longer exist in the case of European harmonised standards in future.

Manufacturers of the raw materials for concrete therefore must observe these changes. Nothing changes for the concrete manufacturer at this time, however. EN 206-1, in conjunction with DIN 1045-2, can be used as before.

SCHWENK Zement KG will review the “general building-supervisory approvals” for its cements and, if necessary, have it extended in time or transfer them to “European Technical Assessments (ETA)”.

We will support this process closely and keep you up to date.

Head of application technology for cement
Werner Rothenbacher

As of 10 July 2015