SBS shares its views on inclusiveness during the European Parliament public hearing
The European Parliament is drafting a report in response to the publication of the package on standardisation by the European Commission in June 2016. In this context, the Parliament organised a public hearing on 26 January, hosted by MEP Marlene Mizzi.
SBS Director Christel Davidson was invited to present the views of SMEs. She stressed that it was important for SMEs to be better included at all the levels of the standardisation process (national, European and international). While she acknowledged that some progress had been made, she insisted on the fact that there is potential for further improvement. Ms. Davidson therefore called on the National and European Standardisation Organisations to reach out more to SMEs and their representatives.
Furthermore, Ms. Davidson also shared the reservations of SBS as regards standards for services. It is not always necessary to develop European or international standards for services as these are often provided locally and respond to a specific local context.
SBS extends its sectoral approach to lifts
Some sectors face more challenges as regard standards and require a specific focus. Therefore, as of 2017, SBS will cover a third sector under its sectoral specific approach. For the past two years, the sectoral approach has focused on construction and ICT and will now be extended to lifts. The activities will be carried out by SBS member association EFESME, the European voice of SMEs for the lift industry. This sector consists largely of small companies, i.e. installers, contractors, manufacturers and/or component producers. SBS has been present from the outset in technical committees focusing on lifts at CEN and ISO level through its technical experts. With this new sectoral approach, the association wants to raise awareness among SMEs about developments in standardisation for lifts and enhance their involvement in the standardisation process. The activities of EFESME will focus on the revision of all harmonised standards in support of the lift directive according to the new standardisation request to CEN TC 10 by the European Commission and on the development of suitable technical reports and technical specifications within ETSI to support the digitisation of the after-sales service business in the sector. In all technical activities carried out by EFESME, the Federation will take into account not only the SMEs represented but also the direct impact of safety standards on the daily life of citizens.
Possible revision of the Construction Product Regulation
The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) is a fundamental piece of legislation that sets up the rules for the CE mark and therefore for selling construction products in the European Internal Market. Many key articles entered into force only in June 2013. The most important articles for smaller enterprises relate to the so-called ‘simplified procedures’. These establish simpler mechanisms for declaring the performance of construction products and thus the CE mark, thereby enabling such companies to place their products on the Internal Market.
As demonstrated in various studies and reported in the July Implementation Report of the European Commission, the simplification measures for SMEs have been taken up to a limited extent only. Thus, on the occasion of the second Technical Platform on the CPR (18 January 2017), the Commission presented potential solutions to be explored when "considering the possible revision" of the CPR. These include the possibility of avoiding a revision of the simplified procedures (Articles 5, 37 & 38) and instead, having more guidance to understand and implement these procedures better.
Furthermore, the European Builders Confederation (EBC) voiced the concerns of construction SMEs about a possible revision of the Construction Products Regulation at the public hearing organised by MEP Catherine Stihler in the Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament at the end of January.
Need for preliminary analyses prior to acceptance of new standardisation requests
Standardisation, also in the construction sector, results from voluntary cooperation between industry, businesses, public authorities and other stakeholders. About a fifth of all European standards are developed on the basis of standardisation requests (mandates) from the European Commission to the European Standardisation Organisations. These are requests to draw up and adopt European standards or European standardisation deliverables in support of European policies and legislation.
SBS has recently published a position paper on the need for preliminary analyses prior to acceptance of new standardisation requests in the field of construction, highlighting five proposals to regulate the normative flow by validating the interest on the basis of a technical and economic justification prior to embarking on standardisation work.
Tourism sector – ISO TC 228
SBS, through its expert in the tourism sector Christian Vanik, will be present at the kick-off meeting of the newly created WG14 of ISO TC 228, which will focus on “Accessible Tourism for all”. The first meeting will pay particular attention to collecting existing material and practices on accessible tourism across countries. The aim is to make as much use as possible of already existing material in order to avoid redundancies.
In October 2016, SBS addressed ISO TC 228 on this matter by sending a letter to the TC secretariat. In that letter, SBS highlighted that SMEs, which have already invested a lot in accessibility in the last years, are the most vulnerable players with regard to costs/investments when discussing new requirements and/or standards. SBS warns also that accessibility should be a concern of other sectors as well, such as public transport, public infrastructures and shopping facilities.
SBS remains committed to playing a constructive role in the efforts of “Accessible Tourism for All” and will accordingly take an active part in the newly created WG14.
22.05 - Training (Brussels)
10.10 - Annual conference (Brussels)
11.10 - Second annual experts’ meeting (Brussels)
Small Business Standards (SBS) is a European non-profit association established in 2013 with the support of the European Commission devoted to representing and defending Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the standardisation system at European and international levels. Its 21 members are national and European sectoral and inter-professional associations representing SMEs in 32 European countries.