Section Contents

 European Technical Approval Guideline (ETAG) 011

ETAG 011 – Guideline for European Technical Approval of Light Composite Wood-based Beams and Columns.

There is no harmonised European standard for I-Joists so manufacturers have to make an application for a European Technical Assessment (ETA) which measures a specific I-joist against test requirements laid down in a European Assessment Document (EAD) or a European Technical Approval Guide (ETAG).

The testing process:

  • The assessment is carried out by a Technical Assessment Body (TAB) which then issues the ETA to the manufacturer.
  • The manufacturer first defines the end use application for the I-Joist.
  • Manufacturer and TAB then jointly decide which essential characteristics are relevant to the specific I-joist for this end use application.
  • Appropriate tests are then written into the EAD/ETAG which have to be passed.

Construction works into which the I-joists are to be incorporated must comply with Essential Requirements (known under the CPR as Essential Characteristics) and Methods of Verification as laid down in the Construction Products Regulations.  For full details refer to ETAG 011, chapter 4.

Product performance categories to be assessed are:

      • Mechanical resistance and stability including stiffness, creep, duration of load and dimensional stability.
      • Seismic evaluation (for seismic areas only).
      • Safety in case of fire, both reaction and resistance.
      • Hygiene, health and environment including release of dangerous substances.
      • Energy economy and heat retention including thermal bridging.
      • Aspects of durability, serviceability and identification.
Guidance for the Assessment of the Fitness for Use (ETAG section 2)

While the ETAG provides the overall assessment process, the manufacturer has responsibility for deciding which tests will be relevant to their products by:

  • Defining the specific product for which they are seeking a European Technical Assessment (ETA) and how it is to be used in construction works.
  • Deciding on the scale of assessment that the specific product needs to satisfy.

The assessment of an I-Joist’s fitness for purpose has three main elements:

  • Clarification of the specific requirements for the works into which the I-Joist is to be incorporated.
  • Physical assessment and judgement methods to be used.
  • Assumptions and recommendations which may or may not be applicable in every case.  
Attestation and Evaluation of Conformity  (now System of Assessment and Verification of Constancy of Performance)  (ETAG section 3)
  • Under the new Construction Products Regulation, this is now known as the System of Assessment and Verification of Constancy of Performance (AVCP). Construction products assessed under ETAG 011 are clarified under System 1.
  • System 1 is officially defined as product certification comprising:  ‘the issuing, restriction, suspension or withdrawal of a certificate of constancy of performance on the basis of testing, calculation, tabulated values or descriptive documentation, initial inspection of the manufacturing plant and of the factory production control, continuing surveillance of the latter by a notified product certification body.’
  • System 1 allocates specific tasks to both manufacturer and notified body and covers the documentation to be produced as well as the required CE marking information.
  • At this point, if all the criteria have been satisfied, the approved certification body will then issue a ‘Certificate of Conformity’ for the I-Joist. This gives authority to the manufacturer to draw up their Declaration of Performance and to fix the CE mark to their product.
Content of the European Technical Assessment  (ETAG section 4)
  • Having issued the Certificate of Conformity, the approval body will then issue the European Technical Assessment (ETA) document to the manufacturer.  The format and check list for the approval body to follow when producing the ETA can be seen in ETAG011, Chapter 9.

Other useful sections in ETAG 011 are:

      • Verification methods used to determine the various aspects of the I-Joist’s performance (5/6).
      • Guidance on the assessing and judgement methods used to confirm the I-Joist’s fitness for its intended use (6).
      • Assumptions and recommendations for design, installation and execution, packaging, transport and storage, use, maintenance and repair under which the assessment of the fitness for use according to the EATG can be made (7).