For 57 machine categories for usage outdoors, in the European area specific rules apply concerning the noise emissions. These rules are laid down by the European directive 2000/14/EC, which in Belgian legislation is transformed by the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002 regarding the sound power of equipment for use outdoors (links to the French and Dutch version). (with alterations).

- To which products does the directive apply?

Under the directive fall machines and tools which are used in residential zones and - as a consequence - can contribute to noise nuisance in the environment, regardless whether meant for professional or for private use. 

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Read in Attachment I of the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002 (or in our leaflet  FR and NL only) which machines are actually subject to this regulation.

- Who is responsible for the conformity of the product?

Before you as a manufacturer are allowed to bring these machines or tools onto the market, you must make sure that they meet the requirements of the European directive. Even if you assemble, install or import, you have certain obligations.
If the manufacturer does not have its seat in the territory of the European Union and has not appointed an authorised representative, everyone who brings his product onto the European market, is considered manufacturer and must bear the responsibility for the conformity of the product.

- Which are the requirements of this regulation?

Beeld geluidslabel

On each machine and device which fall under this directive, the manufacturer must apply a noise marking. This marking indicates the guaranteed sound power of the machine. For some categories (included in Attachment XI of the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002, such as lawn mowers) limits are laid down for a guaranteed sound power. For other machines and tools (included in Attachment XII of the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002), there are no limits; only the noise marking is obligatory (e.g. chain saws, wood choppers). Besides mentioning the guaranteed sound power, the equipment must be provided with a CE label and the EC Declaration of Conformity.

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- What is the procedure like of the conformity assessment?

1. Choice of the module for the conformity assessment

The conformity evaluation is done by the manufacturer or the importer. Several modules are possible, described in Attachments V, VI, VII and VIII of the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002.

  • Attachment V. Internal manufacturing check
  • Attachment VI. Internal manufacturing check with assessment of the technical documentation and periodic checks
  • Attachment VII. Specimen test
  • Attachment VIII. Complete quality guarantee
  • Attachment V (Internal manufacturing check) is suitable for equipment not subject to noise limits, thus for equipment from the list of Attachment XII of the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002. The procedure in accordance with Attachments VI, VII or VIII is followed for equipment, for which noise limits do apply (included in Attachment XI of the Royal Decree of March 6th, 2002).

For equipment in Attachment XI (with noise limits), one has to appeal to one of the testing bodies, which have been notified by the government at the European Commission (so-called notified bodies). The notified bodies measure for the manufacturer (or the importer) the noise emissions of the product or they check the complete quality guarantee system of the company (for conformity evaluation according to Attachment VIII of the Royal Decree). On the basis of sound measurements, a guaranteed sound power is calculated, which takes into account the measuring and production uncertainties. Consult the European databank NANDO  to find out which organizations in Belgium are authorised as registered bodies for the directive 2000/14/EC.

2. Drawing up the technical file

The result of the conformity assessment is recorded in a technical documentation, which the manufacturer must keep for a period of 10 years. This technical file should contain elements described in Attachments V, VI, VII, VIII of the Royal Decree. The technical file can be requested by the controlling authorities (within the framework of the market surveillance), if there are doubts about the product's conformity.

3. Drawing up the declaration of conformity

On the basis of data obtained in the conformity evaluation procedure, the manufacturer or his authorized representative draws up a declaration of conformity. This declaration contains amongst other things the values for the measured and guaranteed sound power. In Attachment II of the Royal Decree, you will find which other elements must be included in this document. The declaration is drawn up in the three Belgian national languages, if the product is destined for Belgium. The declaration of conformity must accompany each product, as part of the instructions for use, or as a separate document.

A copy of the declaration of conformity should be sent to the competent national authorities (our FPS, see address in the leaflet) and to the European Commission. The latter collects the data of the declarations of conformity. The Commission has established an interactive databank (databank Noise), where the manufacturer or his authorized representative themselves, can enter the data of the declaration of conformity. This website is also publicly accessible.

4. The application of the sound marking and the CE-label

Each product must be provided with a sound marking and a CE label. The sound marking gives the guaranteed sound power of the machine, measured and calculated in accordance with the provisions of the directive.

The CE label may only be applied to a product, for which the procedure of the conformity assessment has been finalised and is found to comply with all applicable European provisions in connection with the product standardization in the area of safety and health.

- Is it permitted to show a non-conforming product at a trade fair or exhibition?

Yes, a product which does not yet comply with these rules may be shown on a trade fair or an exhibition (e.g. a product which does not have a sound marking yet). Sometimes it concerns a product which has only just been developed and that is still seeking its way onto the market. However, in this case the exhibitor must place a properly visible sign in the immediate vicinity of a product (or thereon), on which it clearly indicates that the product concerned does not comply, and that it may not be launched onto the market, or be used until it does comply.

Read more on the regulation on the European Commission's website and in our leaflet.