Environmental Product Declarations

In UK Construction the term (EPD) is now short-hand for output compliant with EN 15804, the European standard which has been written to provide the rules for company and industry claims on environments credentials.

The driver for EN 15804 was the need for true comparison between manufacturers of the same product, but also between very different products. The need to compare apples with apples. To achieve this is a huge task and hence under EN 15804 are Product Category Rules (PCRs) which provide a further level of detail.

EPD’s can cover the whole life cycle of project: cradle to grave. In EN 15804 this is module A to C (and these have sub sets). When comparing EPD’s designers must ensure that the EPDs they are using cover the same modules.

Over the last two years, British Precast worked closely with Sustainability consultants thinkstep on developing a life cycle assessment tool for the purpose of producing verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) in accordance with BS EN 15804: 2012 +A1 (2013). The tool created is robust and accurate but also user friendly for manufacturers of any size. The tool has an extensive list of over 50 material inputs covering all the commonly used aggregates, cements, reinforcements and admixtures.

With the tool now in place, a British Precast project is underway to deliver generic EPDs for each of the product associations. The products covered by the generic EPDs are hollowcore floors, ground beams, architectural cladding, concrete pipes, box culverts, paving products and both aggregate and aircrete blocks.

It is hoped that generic EPDs will act as a bridge for members of British Precast to represent their products to customers before a move to more and more companies putting out their own EPDs. It also enables designers to use EPDS in their design process before they know which specific supplier of product will be chosen

From January 2017, British Precast offered an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) development and verification service for precast concrete products manufactured by full members of the Federation.