What is the CSTB?
The Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) (English: Scientific and Technical Centre for Building) is the French national organisation focusing on research, testing, consulting and certification services regarding the construction industry.
The CSTB was founded in 1947 to support the reconstruction of war-torn France. Administratively, it is placed under the Ministère de l’Écologie, de l’Énergie, du Développement durable et de la Mer (Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and the Sea). The centre has over 900 staff and offices in Champs-sur-Marne, Grenoble, Nantes, Paris and Sophia-Antipolis.
Its main activities comprise the research and assessment of health risks associated with building, assessing the environmental quality of buildings and building products related to energy, particularly solar BIPV. The CSTB comprises eight departments :
– Acoustics and Lighting
– Climatology, Aerodynamics, Pollution, Purification
– Economics and Social Sciences
– Energy, Environment, Health
– Hydraulic and Sanitary Equipments
– Information technologies and their dissemination
– Security, Structures and Fire
– Shell and lining
Introduction to CSTB certification
The French Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB) (English: Scientific and Technical Centre for Building) – being the responsible certification authority for construction related energy application – is also responsible for assessing and certifying BIPV projects in France under its CSTB Certification.
Although manufacturers, installers and operators of BIPV systems are not specifically required to have their system certified by the CSTB, lacking certification may trigger high capital losses or in general difficult access to the French market.
Is CSTB certification required for BIPV systems?
Installers in France are in view of liability stipulations legally required to use components in their system that meet the applicable standards. They are subject to a mandatory warranty of ten years making indemnity insurances necessary to cover possible risks of damage.
Since French insurance companies do usually not accept non-French certifications or do not know how to assess them, certification of the BIPV system via CSTB is usually hard to circumvent.