avis technique cstb

About Technical Approvals

What role do TAs play, how do they work, what is the scope, which organisations are involved… Read this quick explanation of why Technical Approvals (TAs) are important.

Manufacturers frequently boast when they obtain a Technical Approval as such documents indicate the formal approval of professionals for the ability of a product or process to fulfil the intended purpose.

About Technical Approvals (TAs)

A Technical Approval, or TA, is a key procedure for demonstrating that an innovation has proved its worth and can be safely implemented in a construction in the same way as the technical techniques governed by their own codes. When a Technical Approval is confirmed, a DTU (Document Technique Unifié or Unique technical document) is prepared and specifies the technical requirements to ensure the due compliance of the structures.

According to the CSTB, the French Scientific and Technical Centre for the Building Industry (Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment), a Technical Approval is “a procedure based on an exhaustive analysis of the ability of the product/process to contribute to the overall performance of the structure, particularly based on justified operating feedback from the initial years of use and test results. Technical Approvals are validated by a panel, and generally guarantee that a similar level of safety and quality to traditional processes will be achieved.” – source 

Who awards Technical Approvals ?

Several organisations are authorised by the Government to process applications for Technical Approvals. The CSTB is the competent body in the construction industry. The CSTB processes applications for Technical Approvals on behalf of the CCFAT, the Commission Responsible for Issuing Technical Approvals.

Groups of experts representing a trade or a specialism are responsible for issuing Technical Approvals. 23 of these Specialist Groups (GS) exist within the CCFAT, combined per specialism.

How can firms obtain a Technical Approval ?

1– An industrial or construction firm must submit an application. Applications must include a technical file explaining how the process operates and the final performance. Appendices are frequently required to supplement the main file, providing details of how the process is prepared and deployed. The CSTB runs an initial assessment of the technical file intended to improve specific points or add the required level of detail.

2-    The technical file is then examined by one or several Specialist Groups (GS) including experts appointed by the CCFAT.

3-    Discussions are opened to add any necessary supplementary details requested by the GS handling the Technical Approval. This may include supplementary testing, e.g. covering seismic properties, acoustics, thermal insulation, fire resistance performance, impact resistance, leaktightness, etc.

4-   If a positive conclusion is reached, the GS formulates an approval with the title Technical Approval (TA).

This certification issue procedure generally lasts around eight months depending on the innovations.

The contents of Technical Approvals

Once a Technical Approval is obtained, it is drafted as a document indicating the registration number, trade name, the identity of the beneficiary and the applicable dates of validity.

The validity of Technical Approvals

Technical Approvals are valid for a period which is calculated from the date of publication of the Approval by the Specialist Group(s). This date varies and depends on the Group’s appraisal and previous feedback. A Technical Approval can therefore be valid for between 2 and 7 years.

A revision of the TA may be requested six months prior to its expiry for the purposes of renewal. At this point, the applicant can indicate any technical modifications required.

Why is it essential to obtain a Technical Approval ?

Construction stakeholders rest assured that they can trust products and services with a Technical Approval. They are more likely to opt for innovations with a guarantee that the products are suitable and will lead to the satisfactory completion of a construction project, in any phase.

Certification also provides a means of standing out on any given market, as a symbol of quality allowing a company’s prospects and customers to buy with confidence. Certification is ultimately a key form of leverage for economic development.

Finally, obtaining a Technical Approval is the most recognised form of validation procedure for insurers at the current time, particularly when granting a ten-year construction guarantee.

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