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Quo vadis DIN V 18035-7?

by Hans-Jörg Kolitzus, officially appointed and sworn expert for sport surfaces, ret.


The standard EN 15330-1 focuses on turf surface systems and their performance characteristics (functional and technical properties). However, it gives no guidelines about the build-up of these systems, i.e. no special facts regarding the elastic layer. Substrates (bound or unbound supporting layers etc.) are not mentioned at all. In contrast to the DIN 18305 standard, in the EN system specifications are separated from testing methods. This is a very sensible approach as it means that it is not necessary to redefine testing standards for each kind of surface and changes can be made with significantly less effort.

According to CEN agreements, when European standards are published, the corresponding national standards are withdrawn or revised accordingly. Along with acceptance of the definitions laid down in the EN standards, the individual countries may retain or supplement the standard with their own prerequisites as long as these correspond to national requirements and do not constitute obstacles to trade (one of the most important objectives of European standardisation). In Germany, neither of these possibilities was made use of.

The German standard authorities, DIN, ignored the EN standard in essence and started work on a new version of DIN V 18035-7 as if the EN standard did not exist. As far as is known, the DIN authorities even made an application for withdrawal of EN 15330-1, despite the fact that they had worked towards its creation for 15 years. Three years have been spent in criticism of this EN standard while the following points should have been adapted long ago during this period of time:

• Testing of force reduction as per EN 14808. It has still not been officially recognised that testing of force reduction as per DIN provides test results which are around 2.5% (absolute values) higher.
• Testing of ageing as per EN 14836 (QUV)
• Testing of wear as per EN 15306 (Lisport)
• Testing of ball roll as per EN 12234
• Testing of ball reflection as per EN 12235

As the above-mentioned test methods do not correspond to the European standards, different test results are obtained. For this reason, synthetic turf surfacing materials for the German market must always be subjected to separate test procedures.

Last year the technical committee finally began work on a new version of the standard DIN V 18035-7. However, it is intended that the previously inefficient ageing test be retained or testing be carried out according to a completely new process. In addition, many one-sided directives regarding the build-up of synthetic turf surfaces have been introduced which were pushed through in crucial votes (status as per December 2010), but which appear somewhat dubious in their meaning. It is particularly irritating that the control tests have been reduced to inefficacy and this will be a topic of separate reports.

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