Richard Shearwood-Porter of The HSEQ Department examines how Brexit affects UCKA and CE marking.
The birth of CE marking
The Construction Products Regulations (CPR) became UK law in 2011 to enforce the European Construction Products Directive. The aim of the Directive was to standardise the safety performance of construction products across the EU. The CPD defined six principles for materials that are to be used in civil engineering:
- Mechanical resistance & stability
- Safety in case of fire
- Hygiene, health & the environment
- Safety in use
- Protection against noise
- Energy economy & heat retention
Where trade organisations agreed a specification to which a construction product would be made, this become known as a Harmonised European Norm (hEN). It became a legal requirement for Construction products with a hEN to be CE marked before being placed on the market within the European trading bloc. Before CE conformity marking could be applied to a construction product, the manufacturer needed to put in place a quality management system called Factory Production Control, which had been certified by an officially accredited organisation known as a Notified Body. Well known examples of Notified Bodies in the UK were the British Standards Institute and the British Board of Agrèment (BBA).
How BREXIT changes things
The transition period for the UK to leave the EU ended at midnight on December 31st 2020. Although the UK leaves the EU with a deal new rules apply to conformity assessment of construction products, which brings a UKCA mark into play in mainland Great Britain.
Very little changes in practise:
- The European standards that apply at the moment, such as EN 1090-1 for structural metalwork, EN 13108 for bituminous material and BS 13369 for pre-stressed concrete will continue to be recognised. These have been added to a list of UK “Designated Standards”.
- UK based Notified Bodies will, if they want to, become UK Approved Bodies. UK Approved Bodies are authorised to issue certificates that allow companies to apply the UKCA mark.
- If a company is certified by a European based Notified Body, they can continue to apply the CE mark until the end of 2021. After that they must have transferred to a UK based Approved Body and apply the UKCA mark.
- If a company is certified by a UK based Approved Body, they must apply the UKCA mark to product manufactured from the 1st of January 2021.
- Suppliers of construction products can continue to supply CE marked products from existing stock, until the end of 2021.
- Importers of construction products from the EU & European Trading Bloc now have the same responsibilities as importers from other parts of the world to ensure that goods they place on the market conform to CE/UKCA marking requirements during 2021 and to UKCA marking requirements after that. They can do this by verifying the claims on the manufacturer’s Declaration of Performance and by affixing their contact details to the products. This responsibility can be delegated to a third party known as an Authorised Representative or Responsible Person.
Transporting construction products to and from Northern Ireland adds some complexity in that CE marking will continue to be a legal requirement after 2021 and that the UKCA mark is replaced by an optional UKNI mark.
How can I get help?
The HSQE Department Ltd has been helping companies in construction & allied trades to implement Factory Production Control systems in the Construction Products Regulations were introduced and so can reduce the time and cost needed to achieve certification. We can carry out gap analyses to identify what you need to do to comply with Designated Standards, help you to define a plan to implement any changes, guide the preparation of Factory Production Control, carry out pre-certification checks on the compliance of your systems and manage the certification visit by the Approved Body.