Harmonised Standard for Sandwich (Insulated) Panels

Insulated panels or sandwich panels are one of a number of construction products for which a harmonised standard has been prepared. Standards are prepared by CEN.

In the case of sandwich panels a committee of European experts, chaired by EPIC, have developed a standard covering the use of panels for external roofs and walls and internally for walls, ceilings and partitions. The standard – EN 14509 – was formally accepted by the Member States in 2006 and is the basis of CE Marking of all metal faced insulated panels (Sandwich Panels).

An update of the Standard is due for release at the end of 2012. The Sandwich Panel Standard has been adopted by the UK as BS EN 14509.

CE Marking of panels and essential characteristics

CE Marking is mandatory for all harmonised construction products in most European Countries and will become mandatory for all including the UK in 2013. The CE Mark is a label fixed to the product, packaging or accompanying documentation. It contains information provided by the manufacturer that declares minimum guaranteed performance values for the principal characteristics of the panel as set out in the harmonised standard EN 14509.

The CE Marking is not a quality mark or statement. It is a declaration that shows conformity to the harmonised standard and provides parity with competitors. Designers and specifiers must always ensure that panels are suitable for their intended purpose. The Standard does not contain minimum or threshold levels and therefore a panel that has the strength characteristics suitable for an internal partition wall may not be suitable for external wall applications. It is for this reason that the Standard requires the manufacturer to state for which applications the product may be used – e.g. internal/external; roofs/walls/ceilings.

CE Marking and UK Building Regulations

CE Marking for Insulated Panels becomes mandatory in the UK in 2013 The CE Mark for Sandwich Panels in accordance with EN 14509 contains a manufacturer’s ‘Declaration of Performance’ that includes the following information.

  • Identification and the intended use of the product i.e. roof/wall; internal/external; ceiling etc together with a description of the main components such as facings, core insulation, mass etc.
  • Declaration of the main mechanical characteristics such as tensile, shear and compressive strength; bending resistance etc. That may be used in design calculations and can confirm fitness for purpose in certain applications
  • Regulated characteristics in the country of use. BS EN 14509 contains performance values for reaction to fire; fire resistance; external fire performance (roofs) and also the thermal transmittance ‘U’-value of the panel.
  • Other information where there is a regulatory requirement e.g. sound absorption, air and water permeability. [Note: these are not regulatory requirements in the UK] The two main essential characteristics covered by regulatory requirements of the UK Building Regulations are Thermal Performance and Fire Performance. Values on the CE Marking for these characteristics may therefore be used as part of regulatory compliance.

Thermal performance

Thermal transmittance or ‘U’-value is an essential requirement of both the Standard and within Building Regulations AD-L: Energy Conservation. BS EN 14509 describes the calculation methodology for determining the U-value for a panel taking account of the insulation and other components as well as the profile of the facings.

‘Typical ‘U’-values to meet the current Energy Conservation Regulations are set out in the EPIC Guide to the 2013/2014 Regulations.

Fire performance

There is an equivalent European classification for the well-known requirements in accordance with the BS 476 standards set out in Building Regulations AD-B. Both sets of classifications for reaction to fire, fire resistance and external fire performance (roofs) will run concurrently up to the July 2013 date for adoption of CE Marking and beyond until the BS classifications are withdrawn.

The current BS 476 classifications and corresponding euroclasses are set out in the EPIC Guide to Fire Safety (2012).