The Brexit Aftermath & Introduction of UKCA Marking
On 31 January 2020, the UK's official departure from the European Union (EU) signalled a series of regulatory shifts. The widely recognised CE marking (Conformitè Europëenne) that denoted product standards across the European Economic Area (EEA) was replaced in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) by the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) marking.
UKCA Marking: The Timeline of Introduction
Initially launched in January 2021, the UKCA marking was voluntary until the initial enforcement date of 1 January 2022. However, various timeline adjustments have been made, primarily due to pandemic-related challenges:
24 August 2021: Extension of CE mark's use until 1 January 2023.
14 November 2022: Further extension of CE mark until 31 December 2024, but not for construction products.
9 December 2022: Extension for CE mark on construction products until 30 June 2025. This deadline was set to ‘allow businesses time to prepare for the UK mark’.
Decoding the UKCA Marking for Fire Doorsets
Scope and Criteria
UKCA marking applies specifically to external doorsets which are to comply with the requirements of the designated standards BS EN 14351-1 and BS EN 16034 before a doorset can be marked:
Manufacturers must exhibit complete alignment with the requirements of the standard.
A Factory Production Control (FPC) audit and sampling audit are obligatory.
Producers must obtain valid test evidence and a classification report for their door sets.
If pre-existing tests have been performed, they must be validated by the UK Approval Body.
Annual FPC audits are necessary to ensure the manufacturer's continued compliance.
Understanding Fire-Resisting and Smoke Control Doorsets
To understand if a door requires UKCA marking, it's pivotal to examine the scope of the relevant standard. Currently, UKCA marking is mandatory only for specific types of doorset. Important distinctions:
Only doorsets meant for use in fire/smoke compartmentation or escape routes that separate the internal from the external climate and supplied entirely by one manufacturer need to be UKCA marked.
'Door assemblies' requiring multiple manufacturers' components cannot be UKCA marked.
UKCA in Different Markets
Northern Ireland: UKCA marking is not valid. CE marking, along with the UK(NI) mark, remains in use.
European Union: Only CE marking is acceptable. UKCA does not hold value.
Important Note: The mark itself (CE or UKCA) isn't the sole proof of compliance. The technical documentation/technical file holds critical importance.
CE and Firestopping Products
Certain passive fire protection products are mandated to acquire the CE/UKCA mark for market placement. This list includes smoke control dampers, fire-resisting dampers, and fire door hardware, among others. Conversely, other fire-stopping and sealing products have voluntary CE marking (EOTA route) due to the absence of a harmonised/ designated standard.
Understanding UKCA & CE Marking: A Comparative View
Introduced in 1985 by the European Economic Community, the CE mark serves as a legal declaration by manufacturers about a product's compliance with European directives or regulations. Following Brexit, the UKCA mark was instituted as its counterpart for Great Britain.
Conformity Assessment Bodies: For CE marking, assessments should be executed by an EU-notified body, while UKCA marking requires a UK-approved body. This might necessitate duplicate testing or certification.
Validity: Post-Brexit transition, CE marking remains valid in GB until the end of 2024 and June 2025 for construction products, while UKCA marking isn't recognised in the EU. However, UKCA will be the primary conformity mark in GB after 31 December 2024
The transition from CE to UKCA marking has ushered in a new regulatory landscape for fire doorset manufacturers in the UK. Staying informed and prepared is paramount for businesses navigating these changes. At UKTC, we are committed to ensuring your products are tested to the correct standard and carry the correct regulatory markings to maintain compliance.