The aim of the Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) is to standardize terms that contracting authorities, entities, or candidates use during the tendering or procurement process. It relies on a single classification system to make the process more efficient and transparent. Using standardized codes facilitates easy access to information. The system also simplifies implementing advertising rules.

What are CPV Codes?

The CPV system makes use of main vocabulary that defines different types of contracts. The use of supplementary vocabulary helps add more qualitative information about any given contract. The main vocabulary includes close to 9,500 terms. They list a wide variety of goods, services, and works that find a place in the procurement process.

Every CPV code comes with nine digits. The first two represent the top level category. The following six digits follow more defined classification levels. The ninth digit is in place to verify the previous eight digits.

A CPV code with numerous zeroes usually denotes a general product/service. One with several numbers, on the other hand, tends to represent a more specific product/service.

It is important for contracting authorities to look for CPV codes that suit their requirements as closely as possible. While you might have to sift through several codes, identifying one that is most suitable is vital. In case the accuracy level is not up to the mark, it is ideal to work backward and refer to the division, group, class, or category that best describes your needs.

Organization in Charge of CPV

The European Commission is responsible for overseeing, implementing, and making changes to the CPV. It encourages contracting authorities, entities, as well as suppliers to make effective use of information technology and electronic communication when providing any relevant information. This, the Commission feels, will ensure cost-effectiveness in the public procurement process.

History of CPV Codes

The history CPV finds roots in other international classification nomenclatures such as the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC), the Classification of Products by Activity (CPA), and the Central Product Classification (CPC).

In 1993, after taking inputs from several quarters, the European Commission introduced a new coding system – the Community Procurement Vocabulary (CPV). This was looked upon as a largely user-friendly and more reliable system than its predecessors.

The second version was released in June 1994, and it came with substantive changes. It was then renamed to Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV). The introduction of a check digit to help do away with typos took place at the same time. Use of CPV in the European Union became mandatory from 1 February 2006.

Example Codes

Given below are examples of a few CPV codes

  • 42630000
  • 42631000
  • 42632000
  • 42635000

In these examples, “42000000” identifies the division (industrial machinery).

“42600000” represents the group (machine tools).

“42630000” denotes the class (metal-working machine tools).

The last set of four numbers identifies the category. In this case:

  • 42630000 is the CPV code for metal-working machine tools
  • 42631000 is the CPV code for machine tools for finishing metals
  • 42632000 is the CPV code for numerically-controlled machines for metal
  • 42635000 is the CPV code for die-stamping machines