Since 1993, product manufacturers operating within the European Economic Area (EEA) have been required to use CE marking on their products, which indicates that the product meets EU standards for health, safety, and environmental protection. The letters “CE” are the abbreviation of French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally translates to “European Conformity”.
Now that the United Kingdom is officially leaving the European Union, and the transition period is set to end on 31 December 2020, there are a number of new regulatory frameworks and trading prerequisites that will need to be considered within the UK economic sphere. The main consideration here is the implementation of the UKCA marking, which represents the UK Conformity Assessment standards have been met and the products are eligible to be distributed in the United Kingdom.
Key takeaways for requirements of construction products
- Businesses must prepare for the end of recognition of the CE mark in GB and affix the UKCA marking using a UK-recognised approved body by 1 January 2022
- Businesses are being encouraged to be ready now for the full implementation of the new UK regime, as soon as possible after 1 January 2021
- The UKCA mark will be allowed for use from 1 January 2021 onwards
- To allow an adjustment period for businesses, some CE marked goods that meet EU requirements may continue to be placed on the UK market for a limited time
- The latest time businesses will be allowed to do this is 31 December 2021
Transitional provision for CE marked products already placed on the UK market
Goods lawfully marked with the CE mark and placed on the EU market before the end of the transition period can continue to circulate until they reach their end user, whether they are in the UK or EU. This includes requirements that they:
- Are covered by a harmonised European standard, which is the same as a UK designated standard
- Are affixed with CE marking
- Are accompanied with a Declaration of Performance
- Have been assessed by an EU-recognised notified body, where third party assessment is required
It will be up to any economic operator to prove that the goods were placed on the market before the end of the transition period.
Existing harmonised European standards will become UK designated standards meaning that immediately after that transition period, harmonised EU standards and UK designated standards will be exactly the same. The government will publish and maintain the list of these standards on a UK database
UK Approved Bodies
From 1 January 2021, UK notified bodies operating under the EU Construction Products Regulation 2011 and based in the UK will be granted new UK ‘approved body’ status and listed on a new UK database. Where UK notified bodies indicate that they do not intend to operate under the UK framework, their designation will be withdrawn by the UK government and they will not be listed in the new UK database of approved bodies. Approved bodies will be able to undertake conformity assessment activity for UK designated standards if the following criteria are met:
- An approved body has undertaken the assessment and the manufacturer (or their authorised representative) has affixed the UKCA marking
- If a UK notified body (which will become a UK approved body) had carried out tasks or issued certification in relation to the Assessment and Verification of Performance (AVCP) before 1 January 2021, then those tasks and/or that certification may be used to support affixing of the UK marking if the product is placed on the GB market after this date
The UK will have powers to carry out market surveillance and enforcement (Trading Standards in GB and Environmental Health Officers in NI) to ensure that non-compliant products can be removed from the UK market. The government is developing UK databases to support this work.
Businesses must prepare for the end of recognition of the CE mark in GB and affix the UKCA marking using a UK-recognised ‘approved body.’ In order to ensure enough time to transition to the new requirements, products can continue to be placed on the UK market without any need for reassessment or re-marking, as long as the EU requirements are met however, this provision is set to end on 1 January 2022. Products that meet UK requirements and bear the UK mark can only be placed on the GB market if third-party assessments have been carried out by a UK approved body. UK-based notified bodies will become UK approved bodies and will be listed on a new UK database and any EU product distributors who bring products in from the EU to the GB market will (in most cases), now be classified as ‘importers.’ This will bring about new obligations including:
- Requirement to label products with name and address
- Ensuring the assessment and verification of constancy of performance (AVCP) requirements have been carried out by the manufacturer
- Ensuring the product clearly bears the conformity marking
- Ensuring the manufacturer has complied with labelling obligations
GB operators – whether manufacturers, importers, distributors or authorised representatives, should consider taking professional advice to ensure that obligations are understood under this new regulatory framework.
UKCA is a major focus for Certification Experts, and we want to make it as simple as possible for businesses and manufacturers to understand. You can read more on various product requirements in the following articles: