Stirling Lloyd Polychem is headquartered in Knutsford with a production and technical site in Dukinfield. Their business is manufacturing waterproof resins for large buildings such as high rise blocks of flats, car parks and bridges. The EU single market has facilitated the development of common standards that apply across a Europe for CE marking construction materials. The Construction Products Regulation (known as the Construction Products Directive before June 2013) obliges all manufacturers to CE mark all construction products under relevant EN or ETA standards. As a result the performance of these materials is regulated - in other words they all meet certain minimum standards. All companies can therefore market their materials in 28 different countries without worrying about if their products meet different national standards and without submitting to costly individual national approval procedures.
As a result, competition in the market for these materials has been opened up beyond national borders with resulting improvements in product quality but also cheaper prices for end users. Stirling Lloyd has benefited enormously from this harmonising of regulations because their products only need to pass one set of testing criteria in order to sell in Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, France, Finland, Poland, Czech Republic and Austria. The standards defined by the EU have also been adopted by neighbouring countries such as Serbia, Turkey and the Gulf States. Without these common standards the company would face multiple testing regimes and standards approvals boards. A direct result of the EU harmonisation and standardisation has been a 30% increase in turnover (worth approximately £8 million) and the company winning the Queen's Award For Enterprise in 2013. The story of this business is a good example of the benefits that result from the standardisation of technical regulations across the EU as enabled by the Single Market.