Why having a Factory Production Control System in Place is more than just a requirement for CE marking

15 April 2014

It is one of the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) that the manufacturers of products that fall within the scope of a harmonised European Standard should operate a Factory Production Control System (FPC System).

This has applied to manufacturers of windows and external doorsets since 1 July 2013 with work underway on harmonised standards for internal doorsets and fire-rated doorsets. As a result of this many joinery manufacturers have put such a system in place to conform to the CPR but some are yet to appreciate that the FPC System can bring tangible benefits to their business.

Factory Production Control is not merely a bureaucratic exercise and an FPC System should be considered as a set of instructions. These instructions state how the organisation will control those factors that affect the consistency of the products produced within the factory so that the product’s compliance with the manufacturer’s Declaration of Performance (DoP) is maintained.  The FPC System should show personnel what is required to be done at each stage of production and will also creates a record of the controls which can be used to demonstrate consistency with the product specification should the need arise.

By having clear specifications in place for materials and other components suppliers will know what to supply and personnel within the organisation will know what is required, preventing reliance on an individual’s knowledge within the organisation.

When the ordered goods are received, they can be inspected against the original specification to ensure that they conform. Materials that do not conform can be managed according to the documented procedures to ensure that they do not get used for production. For example, timber with too low a moisture content should be rejected and quarantined so that it cannot end up within a product that could subsequently be liable to swelling and distortion as it absorbs moisture.

Adequately trained personnel will be capable of undertaking the operations that they have been given to do and this training requirement of the FPC system will ensure that they can produce their work repeatedly and to the quality standard required by the organisation.

Maintaining machinery will allow the equipment to operate accurately and reliably, producing products that meet the organisation’s specifications and regular inspection of equipment can reduce the likelihood of a breakdown which could occur at a critical time. Keeping records of maintenance work undertaken on a piece of equipment could show any repeating faults that could mean further maintenance is required.

At each stage in production, and particularly in a batch process, checking the work at designated periods through the production run, for example at the beginning of a run, at any stoppage in the process, i.e. for breaks, and at the end of a run, can ensure that the correct items are produced to the required accuracy and specification throughout the batch reducing the likelihood of a poor component affecting the performance of the finished product.

As the FPC System should be written to suit the organisation and the way it operates it can be reviewed and adapted periodically to make it more relevant and beneficial. The FPC System should be used to enhance the organisation and not just thought of as a “tick in the box” for the CPR and CE marking.

To help joinery businesses to meet the challenge of CE marking, BWF has put together a template FPC manual that can be adapted to fit your business. The manual and guidance are exclusively free to BWF members, as part of the BWF membership package.


You can also find out more on the obligations of the CPR and CE Marking at the BWF Woodworking Conference 2014 (Members' Day), on 14th May. BWF Technical Manager Kevin Underwood will be holding a presentation (Workshop F1 or Workshop F2) covering CE Marking in 2015 and beyond, covering the new products that could be subject to CE Marking, including staircases, internal and fire doors. Each BWF manufacturing member receives one free ticket to the event if they register in advance. Book your place at Members' Day now.

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