The impact of the European Construction Products Directive on UK construction product manufacturers
The research is based on the European Directive aimed at harmonising standards for construction products. Harmonised standards remove technical barriers to trade allowing manufacturers to sell their products anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA) provided the product complies with the standard and has affixed the CE marking. This should lead to greater competition in all EEA markets. A review of relevant literature covered three distinct areas; developments of the European Union and the Construction Products Directive (CPD), the UK construction industry and materials sector and strategic management concentrating on market barriers and entry strategies. The research combined these areas together by investigating the impact of the CPD on the UK construction product manufacturers specifically considering the strategic decisions of the UK brick industry. As there was little previous empirical research into this area, data was generated through exploratory interviews with manufacturers and bodies involved with the UK implementation of the Directive, through a self-completion postal questionnaire survey with manufacturers from six product groups and by a case study approach used to examine the UK brick industry. The research demonstrated that the Directive is having little impact to date on the strategic decisions of UK construction product manufacturers. Also, there are a disturbing number of producers that were not aware of the Directive and its possible implications. By applying previous research findings to the UK brick industry, conclusions were drawn highlighting the specific nature of this industry and identifying specific characteristics that influence its competitiveness. The Directive and the UK brick industry have never previously been examined in such a manner and areas for further research have been suggested.