Interlay Setting the Standards

Colin photoInterlay and Interpave Secretary Colin Nessfield has recently been appointed as the new Convenor to CEN Technical Committee TC178’s Working Groups 1 & 5, responsible for Standards applying to all precast concrete paving and kerbing, including tactile paving. Here he answers questions about his new role.

Q: What is CEN TC178, what does it cover and who is involved?   

A: CEN TC 178 is the European Technical Committee that writes, reviews and maintains the European Standards for Paving Units and Kerbs, made from Concrete, Clay and Natural Stone. WG1 covers all concrete products used for paving and kerbing, while WG5 focuses on Tactile Paving to aid Blind and visually impaired people. Representatives from manufacturing, research and academia, as well as user groups including installers, standards bodies and other interested parties from all EU member states, are all invited to contribute to the work of TC178 through their national committees.’

Q: What is your role as Convenor?

A: Convenor is a European term that broadly means ‘Chairman’ but tends to encompass a variety of additional responsibilities. I shall act as Chairman to the Work Groups WG1 and WG5. My main tasks will be to organise and to chair the group meetings with representatives from a wide range of European member states, develop and maintain the suite of product standards to ensure technical performance requirements for products manufactured and sold across the EU member states, and ensure compliance with the CE marking requirements of the Construction Products Regulations (CPR).

Q: Why is the role important? 

A: Ensuring that the European Committee runs smoothly helps produce useable standards that UK products can meet and UK installers can rely on. Products that our installers buy from the rest of the world need to be of good quality, consistent and perform well in service. This is important to specifiers, contractors, manufacturers and end users, from major industrial applications to domestic customers alike, and helps installers to reliably price work. With consistent, useable standards, manufacturers can export and installers import products that can be relied upon throughout Europe and the rest of the world. This can improve our trade balance and allow us to get the products we need, to standards we can rely on.

Q: What are the current issues being addressed by CEN TC178 and when can we see the results of the groups’ work?

A: Revisions to the product standards for Concrete Block Paving (EN 1338), Concrete Paving Flags (EN1339) and precast Concrete Kerbs (EN1340), are currently being worked on with changes due to be published around the end of the year. We are also about to perform a review and carry out any necessary amendments to the technical specification for tactile paving, TS 15209, in the near future which could also lead to the reinstatement of a British Standard to cover the specific UK tactile paving products. This also ties in with my work as liaison between the UK British Standards (BSI) Committee for Paving, B507, and the BSI group dealing with access for the disabled, B559.