The legal framework for the placing on the market and putting into service of gas appliances and their fittings is Regulation (EU) 2016/426 on appliances burning gaseous fuels (GAR). It became fully applicable as of 21 April 2018, replacing the previous Directive 2009/142/EC.
This Regulation is a full harmonisation legislation based on the ‘New Approach’ principles and aligned to the ‘New Legislative Framework’ policy. In addition, it clarifies the requirements each gas appliance and fitting has to fulfil. The need for interpretation of the provisions of the Regulation is reduced compared to Directive 2009/142/EC through an introduction of definitions for the sector-specific terminology used to facilitate the application of the legislation. The Regulation also introduces harmonised content for the communication of gas supply conditions in EU countries, enabling the design and construction of safe and correctly performing products.
The scope of the GAR is restricted to appliances burning gaseous fuels used for cooking, heating, hot water production, refrigeration, lighting and washing. Regulating, controlling and safety devices and sub-assemblies thereof intended to be incorporated into appliances or assembled to constitute appliances – so-called fittings – are also covered. Appliances specifically designed for use in industrial processes carried out on industrial premises, for use on aircraft and railways as well as for research purposes for temporary use in laboratories are excluded.
The legal framework established by the GAR aims to provide access to the EU market for appliances and fittings in so far as the gas safety of these products is concerned. The GAR deals also with the energy efficiency of the products covered where no more specific EU Eco-design legislation applies.
The GAR contains in its annex I the essential requirements that an appliance or a fitting must meet when it is placed on the EU market. It does not indicate how these requirements must be met, thus leaving flexibility to manufacturers as regards technical solutions to be adopted.
To facilitate market access, harmonised standards, the reference numbers of which have been published in the Official Journal of the EU, provide a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements of the Regulation. Using harmonised standards is voluntary. Standardisation work is being coordinated by the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) field of work of the CEN.
The GAR always requires third party involvement in the conformity assessment of products. The list of the notified bodies notified by the EU countries to carry out conformity assessments according to the GAR can be searched on the NANDO web site.
To ensure a coherent application of the GAR, guidance sheets are established and agreed in accordance with the Commission's Working Group on Gas Appliances (WG-GA).
This working group is composed of representatives of EU countries, European Federations, the coordination group of sector's notified bodies and CEN. It is chaired by a representative of the Commission services.
Guidance sheets are based on a lay consensus and represent a reference for ensuring consistent application of the Regulation by all involved.
It should be noted that the guidance sheets are neither a legally binding interpretation of the GAR nor can they formally commit authorities or notified bodies.
The legally binding text remains that of Regulation (EU) 2016/426.
Note: the guidance sheets for Directive 2009/142/EC (GAD) are currently under revision in order to align them with Regulation (EU) 2016/426. The guidance sheets for Regulation (EU) 2016/426 (GAR) will be published as soon as the Member States Working Group on Gas Appliances (WG-GA) has agreed on them.
Article 4(1) of the GAR requires EU countries to inform the Commission and other EU countries about the types of gas and corresponding supply pressures of gaseous fuels used in their territories as well as any changes thereof (in accordance with Annex II to the GAR).
In the framework of the GAR, the technical harmonisation covers gas appliances and fittings. However, there are differences in the types of gas and corresponding supply pressures used in the territories of EU countries. To ensure the safety and energy efficient functioning of appliances and fittings, information about these gas supply conditions must be taken into account during their design phase.
The Commission publishes this information in the Official Journal of the EU.
Note: publication of the types of gas and corresponding supply pressures of gaseous fuels used in the territory of EU countries, according to Regulation (EU) 2016/426 (GAR), will follow soon.
Compilation of information communicated by EU countries in accordance to Article 2(2) of the repealed Directive 2009/142/EC (GAD) on the types of gas and corresponding supply pressures used in their territories is available via the link above.
To ensure a smooth transition from Directive 2009/142/EC to Regulation (EU) 2016/426, the following guidance has been issued:
General information about technical regulation following the 'new approach' and 'new legislative framework'.