Wood based panel manufacturers will be able to use a new CE mark from the middle of 2002 thanks to agreement on a new European standard for wood based panels.

At a European Panel Federation meeting in Brussels, 15 countries voted in favour and three against the adoption of a harmonised standard for wood products, EN 13986. This means that after 12 years of lengthy wrangling a common standard is now ready to be put in place.

The EPF hopes the objections of three members of its general council will be overcome by the summer, meaning wood based panel manufacturers will be able to start using a CE mark from mid next year.

The new standard forms part of the Construction Products Directive agreed in December 1988 and designed to usher in a single market for construction products showing compliance with regulations via compulsory CE marking.

Malcolm Cowley, chairman of the National Panel Products Division, said: ‘This is really a requirement that EC nations should ensure that the right products are used in the right applications. The industry should embrace it as a good piece of additional documentation to enable them to sell safely and accurately.’

EPF president Frans De Cock said: ‘This presents an excellent opportunity to promote wood based panels as environmentally friendly construction materials that can compete in terms of performance and cost-efficiency in structural and non structural applications.’