The government has today (24 August) postponed the requirement for manufacturers to adopt the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark for goods placed in the UK market.
Businesses can already use the mark – which replaces the EU’s CE mark – but there is now no obligation to do so until 1 January 2023.
The UKCA mark, like the CE mark, is required for a range of products from construction materials to electrical goods to toys. It shows that goods meet British safety standards.
Having left the EU, the UK government introduced its own mark to allow it to establish its own product safety rules.
According to gov.uk, goods will require the mark from 1 January 2023 if all of the following criteria apply:
- The product is for the market in Great Britain
- It is covered by legislation which requires the UKCA marking
- It requires mandatory third-party conformity assessment
- The conformity assessment has been carried out by a UK conformity assessment body
The CE mark will continue to be required for goods entering the EU market, meaning businesses trading goods in both the UK and EU markets may require both marks.
Before today’s announcement, trade bodies had repeatedly warned that the UK did not have sufficient capacity to handle the huge demand for the testing of products that the introduction of the new mark would require.
Fergus McReynolds, EU affairs director at manufacturers trade group Make UK, told the FT: “The UK is facing a crunch running up to the end of the year as more companies race to apply. Supplies will also be cut off if overseas supplying businesses are not ready. The question is then how to incentivise them to use the CA markings.”
They also warned that some European suppliers could have stopped supplying the UK to avoid the need of getting the new certification, leading to further supply chain disruption.
Limited test capacity
According to Building.co.uk, conformity assessment tests could have cost up to £50,000 per product and testing for some building products – such as radiators, sealants, adhesives, specialist glass and types of ironmongery – is currently limited or non-existent in the UK.
A host of other industry bodies – including the Building Controls Industry Association, the Fire Industry Association and engineering group Actuate – had also voiced concerns about a lack of time to adopt the new mark.
No more extensions
The Times reports that the new date for adoption (1 January 2023) will be a “final date”, while the government said that the delay was in recognition of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses.
IOE&IT Academy director, Kevin Shakespeare, welcomed the news saying it will “ensure businesses have a further period to prepare” and shows the government “recognises the large demand that is required for testing products for UKCA marking”.
He said traders should use the extra time wisely, advising: “Businesses should check the nature of their products, to see if the services of a notified body are required for third-party conformity assessment.”