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Open Letter concerning new Administrative Provision Technical Building Regulations

On 31. August 2017, the >> Deutsche Institut für Bautechnik (DIBt, Center of Competence in Construction) openly published the updated Muster-Verwaltungsvorschrift Technische Baubestimmungen (MVV TB, Administrative Provision Technical Building regulations). The MVV TB serves, as defined in the Musterbauordnung (MBO, Model Building Code), as the administrative provision to specify general requirements for building constructions, construction products as well as other civil constructions and products with technical building regulations.


The new MVV TB raised concerns in the market of domestic ventilation units, whether these units with a maximum volume flow of up to 1000 m³/h are still liable to a Allgemeine Bauaufsichtliche Zulassung (abZ, national technical approval). This open letter, drafted with great care and with our best knowledge, only mirrors our own understanding of the current state of German regulations. It serves to explain, based on the Bauregelliste (Building Rules List) as the old status quo, the European Regulation for Harmonised Construction Products (>> Regulation (EU) No. 305/2011), the MVV TB and the MBO, why TZWL still considers the independent testing of domestic ventilation units based on DIBt-regulations as well as the issuance of national technical approvals of such units as obligatory according to German law. This interpretation nevertheless implicates no legal binding, for further information regarding the understanding of the current MVV TB, TZWL refers to DIBt as its publisher.


The Building Rules List 2015/2 B Part 2 addresses domestic ventilation units in chapter 1, Technical Construction products, point 1.2.4. In the preliminary notes to the Building Rules Lists, List B Part 2 is defined as the list containing those construction products that are put in circulation and are traded based on the provisions regarding the implementation of regulations of the European Communities, if these provisions do not factor in the general requirements as defined in article 3, par. 1 of the German Building Products Regulation and if, for compliance with these requirements, additional evidence of usability of these products or evidence of compliance with the Building Regulations of the federal states is necessary. Besides the CE-Label, construction products defined as above also require the national technical approval label (Ü-Zeichen) according to the Building Regulations of the federal states.


The cited article 3, par. 1 of the Building Products Regulation determines that the general requirements for buildings according to Attachment 1 of that regulation are basis for the elaboration of standardisation assignments as well as harmonised technical specifications. In Attachment 1, the following requirements for buildings and technical products to be installed in buildings are specified: 1. Mechanical solidity and stability, 2. Fire safety, 3. Hygiene, health and environment protection, 4. Safety and barrier-free usability, 5. Acoustic protection, 6. Energy saving and heat insulation and 7. Sustainable usage of natural resources.


The integration of ventilation units in Building Rules List B part 2 implies in conclusion that parts of the above defined general requirements for ventilation units are not or not wholly covered by the CE-Label and that, additionally to the CE-Label, a national approval is necessary for the distribution of these units in Germany. This understanding is supported by the entry of ventilation units (1.2.4, p. 177), in which, in the column „Aditionally to the CE-Label necessary usability and compliance evidence“, a national technical approval (Z) is defined as the compliance evidence.


The updated MVV TB refers to ventilation units in chapter B. This chapter includes technical building regulations that have to be abided by for the manufacturing of defined special constructions and construction parts. In subchapter B 3, regarding technical construction equipments and parts of facilities for the filling and handling of water-hazardous substances that do not carry the CE-Label in compliance with the building products regulation, ventilation units are defined as a technical building equipment.


According to MVV TB, B 3.1, for the construction equipments treated in subchapter B 3, an evidence of usability based on the prerequisites of § 17 par. 1 MBO is necessary to establish the substantial characteristics missing in the CE-Label. Missing characteristics are features of the construction product or the technical building equipment that so far do not underlie harmonised technical specifications and thus are not yet covered by the CE-Label as defined in the European Regulation for Harmonised Construction Products (Regulation (EU) No. 305/2011).


The MVV TB defines ventilation units in its listing B

Table MVV TB domestic ventilation units

B - Listing of ventilation units with a volume flow of up to 1.000 m³/h;

Source: own depiction and translation, based on MVV TB, p. 88


The substantial missing features not covered by the CE-Label are thus: c.1) Fire behaviour; c.2) Characteristic curve, minimum volume flow, leakage tightness, air quality (filters), safety equipment; c.3) Energetic characteristics. According to the MVV TB, these attributes have to be established by a usability evidence under the prerequisites of § 17 par. 1 MBO.


§ 17 par. 1 MBO states that a usability evidence (§§ 18 to 20) is obligatory for a construction product, if 1. there is no technical building regulation and no generally acknowledged technical rule, 2. the construction product substantially deviates from a technical building regulation (§ 85a par. 2 No. 3) or 3. it is provided for by a decree according to § 85 par. 4a. This paragraph is in accordance with the definition of the in subchapter B 3 MVV TB treated construction products/technical equipments.


§ 18 to 20 MBO define as evidence:

1. § 18 National technical approvals

2. § 19 Test certificates based on the regulations for national technical approvals

3. § 20 Individual evidence of usability of building products


National technical approvals for construction products are issued according to § 18 par. 1 by the DIBt under the prerequisites of § 17 par. 1, if the usability is established in accordance with § 16b par. 1. The § 16b, treating general requirements for the usability of construction products, states in par. 1 that these may only be used, if, at duly maintenance, during a period appropriate to the purpose of the product, the building facilities are fulfilling the requirements of this regulation and are fit for use.


As explained above, in the understanding of TZWL the necessity of a national technical approval issued by the DIBt for ventilation units with a maximum volume flow of up to 1000 m³/h thus expires by no means with the new MVV TB. In fact, the MVV TB explicitly refers to the obligation for a national technical approval to establish those substantial features of ventilation units, which not yet underlie rules by the European Regulation for Harmonised Construction Products and are thus not covered by the CE-Label, with a usability evidence in accordance with the MBO.

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