The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) is an association that brings together the National Standardisation Bodies of 34 European countries. CEN is one of three European Standardisation Organisations (together with CENELEC and ETSI) that have been officially recognised by the European Union and by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as being responsible for developing and defining voluntary standards at European level. CEN provides a platform for the development of European Standards and other technical documents in relation to various kinds of products, materials, services and processes. For construction, although standards remain voluntary, they effectively become mandatory in reality under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR 305/2011) (see below).
Contractors are significantly affected by standardisation. They need to be represented in the process of developing standards and often cannot give time to the activity, which is both time consuming and costly, because meetings are held all over Europe. As well as representing contractors when they cannot do it themselves, FIEC and its member federations influence standardisation at EU and national level in a number of ways. These include FIEC’s role as a CEN Partner Organisation with observer status on the CEN Technical Board and on CEN Technical Committees and Working Groups. FIEC also participates in the CEN Construction Sector Network Core Group. Its member federations participate in the national mirror committees and also by lobbying the National Standards Organisations in their own countries.