CPV codes (otherwise known as Common Procurement Vocabulary codes) are a way of categorising contract notices in order to make them easier for suppliers and contracting authorities to find. With over 9,000 CPV codes defined, they can be complex to use, but once you’ve identified the ones that are relevant to your organisation they can really help you find the tenders that are relevant to you.
Who created the CPV code system?
The CPV code classification system was developed by the European Union to improve transparency and efficiency in the tendering process. By having a consistent and widely adopted coding system (its use has been mandatory in the European Union since 1 February 2006), navigating the vast array of tender opportunities in the market becomes much simpler since it gives suppliers a means by which they can search for tenders that require their specific set of capabilities. Tender alert platforms such as ours use CPV codes to classify tender opportunities and deliver them to potential suppliers typically using a daily email alert.
How are CPV codes formatted?
CPV codes consist of a main ‘vocabulary’ and a supplementary vocabulary. Respectively these define the subject of the contract and other qualitative information.
The main vocabulary is based on a tree structure made up with codes of up to 9 digits (an 8 digit code plus a check digit).
Each 9-digit code has an associated description which explains the type of supplies, works or services that are covered by the contract.
Main vocabulary structure
The first 8 digits of the CPV code are subdivided into the following parts:
- Divisions: first two digits of the code XX000000-Y
- Groups: first three digits of the code XXX00000-Y
- Classes: first four digits of the code XXXX0000-Y
- Categories: first five digits of the code XXXXX000-Y
Let’s have a look at a few example CPV codes:
- 03113100-7 Sugar beet
- 03113200-8 Sugar cane
- 18451000-5 Buttons
- 18453000-9 Zip fasteners
- 71355000-1 Surveying services
- 71355200-3 Ordnance surveying
These may look unrelated at first, but on closer inspection you’ll notice that they have common elements as described as subdivisions above – for example the category 03113 relating to plants for sugar manufacturing.
Typically, contract notices will use a number of CPV codes to give suppliers an idea of the services required to be delivered.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
The top-level CPV code hierarchy
The list below shows the top-level of the CPV code hierarchy. You’ll see that the subjects are many and varied! Agricultural, farming, fishing, forestry and related products
 Petroleum products, fuel, electricity and other sources of energy
 Mining, basic metals and related products
 Food, beverages, tobacco and related products
 Agricultural machinery
 Clothing, footwear, luggage articles and accessories
 Leather and textile fabrics, plastic and rubber materials
 Printed matter and related products
 Chemical products
 Office and computing machinery, equipment and supplies except furniture and software packages
 Electrical machinery, apparatus, equipment and consumables; lighting
 Radio, television, communication, telecommunication and related equipment
 Medical equipments, pharmaceuticals and personal care products
 Transport equipment and auxiliary products to transportation
 Security, fire-fighting, police and defence equipment
 Musical instruments, sport goods, games, toys, handicraft, art materials and accessories
 Laboratory, optical and precision equipments (excl. glasses)
 Furniture (incl. office furniture), furnishings, domestic appliances (excl. lighting) and cleaning products
 Collected and purified water
 Industrial machinery
 Machinery for mining, quarrying, construction equipment
 Construction structures and materials; auxiliary products to construction (except electric apparatus)
 Construction work
 Software package and information systems
 Repair and maintenance services
 Installation services (except software)
 Hotel, restaurant and retail trade services
 Transport services (excl. Waste transport)
 Supporting and auxiliary transport services; travel agencies services
 Postal and telecommunications services
 Public utilities
 Financial and insurance services
 Real estate services
 Architectural, construction, engineering and inspection services
 IT services: consulting, software development, Internet and support
 Research and development services and related consultancy services
 Administration, defence and social security services
 Services related to the oil and gas industry
 Agricultural, forestry, horticultural, aquacultural and apicultural services
 Business services: law, marketing, consulting, recruitment, printing and security
 Education and training services
 Health and social work services
 Sewage, refuse, cleaning and environmental services
 Recreational, cultural and sporting services
 Other community, social and personal servicesIf you’d like to see them all feel free to download the full list of CPV codes.
How we use CPV codes
CPV codes are just one of the ways in which you can find tenders within our tender alerts platform. You’ll be able to find tenders that are relevant to you by selecting the appropriate CPV codes on the platform’s search screen.
Want to test it out?