Following the United Kingdom's exit from the EU, many things have changed for construction product manufacturers and those who specify products for use in the built environment. The largest of these changes is what product marking is required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
Since its advent in 1985, most products are marked using Conformitè Europëenne (CE) marking. CE marking indicates that the manufacturer has assessed a product's characteristics and deemed it to meet the minimum safety, health and environmental protection requirements for that type of product. Over the years, the CE mark has become a familiar sight on many construction products across the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Economic Area (EEA), reducing the barriers associated with selling products across territories.
However, following the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum and the United Kingdom's formal exit from the European Union (EU) in 2020, a new product marking scheme came into effect. The United Kingdom Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking regime was launched on 1st January 2021. This mark will not be recognised in the EEA and products being sold in those territories that require marking will have to be done under the CE marking regime as before. From 1st January 2023, CE Marking will no longer be used in Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), and many products will require UKCA marking instead before being placed on the market.
Despite concerns and lobbying from construction product groups and industry bodies, there is a hard push for the 2022 deadline to be met as the deadline has already been extended once. Compounded with the impact of a global pandemic, the introduction of the new UK Building Safety Bill and greater enforcement powers for the Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS), manufacturers are feeling the pressure.
Thankfully though, the technical requirements of the UKCA marking scheme have been aligned with those in CE marking scheme. This means that the supporting standards, test methods, declarations of performance (DOP) and factory production control requirements are essentially the same. However, despite many are lobbying for continued alignment, this isn't guaranteed to last forever. Indeed, the current UK government has been vocal about the potential benefits of being able to diverge from the EU regulations.
United Kingdom Testing and Certification (UKTC) fulfils several roles when it comes to UKCA marking. However, most importantly, UKTC has a 40,000 sq. ft. UKAS accredited testing facility based in the UK. This offers Manufacturers the rare opportunity to demonstrate their products' compliance with regulatory requirements from a single source supplier. In turn, this allows manufacturers to position themselves competitively in the market a reassure customers of the safety of their products.
To learn more about how UKTC can assist with UKCA marking of construction products, get in touch with our team of experts.