30th August 2021
When the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, a number of changes needed to be made to accommodate for our new life outside of the EU. This includes revamping the system that certifies any product sold on the EU market as fit for use to the public. This includes products that are essential to the construction industry as well as construction products sold by businesses from retail all the way to wholesale.
However, Brexit has meant that this system that has been used for 36 years must be replaced with a new system that is exclusively for the UK. The new UKCA system replaces the CE marking but very similar rules apply.
For a more in-depth explanation about CE Markings, the new UKCA Marking and what’s changing – you can read our previous article here.
A statement from the UK Government first published in December 2020 stated that:
“If your good was fully manufactured, CE marked and ready to place on the market before 1 January 2021. In these cases, your good can still be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body before 1 January 2021. These goods will need to be placed on the market before 31 December 2021.”¹
Which meant an extremely tight deadline for the industry to both put their existing CE marked products on the market by the end of this year and fully switch over to the new UKCA System.
Switching over to the new system would involve officials that are qualified to test products for the UKCA system having to test a business’s entire stock all over again, which would take far longer than the deadline given at the end of 2020.
This would have caused several issues for integral sectors of the construction industry, everything from quality control problems to contractual agreements being broken, facing possible legal action as a result.
In a Government update dated 24th August 2021, they stated that:
“To allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, you will still be able to use the CE marking until 1 January 2023 in most cases.”¹
After a fierce backlash and campaigning from the industry, the UK Government decided to extend the deadline for the new UKCA System by 2 years. While many businesses and organisations would have still preferred to have more time to adjust to these changes, it is still a win for the industry. This means more time to get as many products tested as possible, ready for them to go to market with their certifications fully updated.
However, it is being reported by The Times² that the January 1st 2023 deadline will not be extended any further, and testing capacity is currently still extremely limited, so the earlier you can start preparing your business for these changes, the better off you will be.
You can find out everything you need to know about making the switch on the UK Government website.