Since new regulations on UK building materials have come into effect on 01 January 2021, confusion about how this may affect non-UK construction material suppliers and manufacturers.
This article provides you with all you need to know about the new building material conformity marking protocols in the United Kingdom and their application. We also go through the new terminology and rules trying to clarify what products require new marking and when.
A new conformity marking terminology
To start, let’s identify some of the key terms and definitions that you will may need to easily understand the new rules and navigate through the recent changes. We’ll return to terminology and definitions with further details later in the article:
First of all we need to differentiate the Great Britain market from the Northern Ireland market.
- The Great Britain (GB) market includes England, Wales and Scotland but excludes Northern Ireland.
- The Northern Ireland (NI) market covers the Northern Ireland. The latter has established its own set of marking rules.
Which are the organisations and bodies that offer conformity assessments and certification?
CE marking are provided by EU certifying bodies, called Notified Bodies (NBs). A NBs is an organization that has been accredited by an EU Member State to conduct a conformity assessment under the relevant EU Directives and issue CE certificate.
CE mark continues to be used to show goods meet EU rules within EU and Northern Ireland markets.
The new UKCA and UKNI product marking are provided by UK national certifying bodies, called Approved Bodies (ABs).
The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that is used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking. It applies to products on the GB market certified by a UK AB.
The UKNI applies to products on the Northern Ireland market. If the products are assessed by using a third-party UK ABs, the new UKNI mark will need to accompany the CE mark.
Both the UKCA and UKNI marks are not recognised on the EU market. Therefore, for building products manufactured in the UK, CE marking is still required to be sold in Europe.
Construction Products Regulation in Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In the pre-Brexit age, the declarations of performance and CE marking were regulated by the European Construction Products Regulation across the EU single market. Declarations of performance and CE marking were mandatory for many of the construction materials and building components sold in the UK.
From the 01 January 2021, since the UK has officially left the EU single market, the EU has stopped recognising CE marking issued by third-party UK bodies. In response, a new designated dtandards were rolled-out by the British Government aimed at addressing conformity marking of the construction products sold in the UK.
As a result, as of 01 January 2021, any building product manufacturers or supplier wanting to continue trading within the UK market has to comply with the new regulations. This means that products need to achieve, either immediately or by the end of the transition period, the new UKCA and UKNI conformity marking. The above requirements will vary depending on the product. Note that the UK legislation is now divided in two groups, regulations for the Northern Ireland market and those for the market in Great Britain.
- All existing products having received CE marking before 01 January 2021 are still eligible for sale on all affected markets. Manufacturers will have to adopt the new marking protocols by 01 January 2022.
- For manufacturers placing new products on the market from 01 January 2021, the following applies:
o EU market –you will need a CE certificate issued by an EU NB.
o GB market – requires a UKCA certificate issued by a UK AB.
o NI market – all products will still require a CE mark; however, any products certified by a UK AB must also carry a UKNI mark.
How the new CE, UKCA and UKNI marking works
According to the new conformity marking regulations, UKCA and UKNI marks will either replace or accompany the CE marking, serving as a manufacturer’s/ importer’s/ distributor’s declaration that their products are compliant with all relevant safety legislation in the market for which they are intended. Starting from 01 January 2022:
- All products currently requiring a CE mark will require a UKCA mark if sold in the GB market.
- Any CE marked products destined for the EU market must be certified by an EU NB.
- CE marks released by British certification bodies will be no longer accepted in the EU market.
- Products destined for the NI market that have been certified by a UK AB will require a UKNI mark in addition to CE marking.
Deadlines and requirements for the new markings will depend upon the following:
- Is the applicable product new, or was it CE marked before 01 January 2021?
- What country is your company based in, and in which market are you selling?
- Does a UK designated standard cover the product?
- Was the conformity assessment carried out by a UK AB or an EU NB?
- Was the ETA issued by a UK or EU technical approval body (TAB)?
Was your product CE marked before 01 January 2021?
As illustrated above, existing CE marked products will continue to be recognised in the GB Market until 01 January 2022. Then, CE marking will be still in use in Northern Ireland and for products exported to EU market. In additional products certified by a UK AB will also require the additional UKNI marking to be sold in Northern Ireland.
What rules do construction products need to follow?
European manufacturers must prepare for the end of recognition of the CE mark in the UK market and provide the new UKCA and/or UKNI conformity markings.
Manufacturers are provided with sufficient time to transition to the new requirements. Meanwhile construction products can continue to be placed on the UK market without any need for reassessment or re-marking if EU requirements are met (including CE marking). In addition, products that meet NI rules (including CE marking or CE UKNI marking) can be placed on the GB market.
However, manufacturers should prepare for these provisions to end on 1 January 2022.
All existing construction products entering the Great Britain market (England, Wales and Scotland) require the UKCA marking from the 01 January 2022.
All construction product entering the GB market from 1 January 2022 have to carry the UKCA marking.
Similar to the CE mark, the UKCA mark must be shown on the product, unless it is impractical due to the product’s size or nature. In that case, that UKCA mark have to be displayed on the packaging, attached label, or supporting documentation and product literature.
The manufacturer or the economic operator (i.e. supplier, distributor) is fully responsible for demonstrating product(s) compliance with relevant legislation.
UK based manufacturers and those located outside the European Union (EU) are also affected by the new conformity marking regulations. If their construction products are entered in the EU market, manufacturers (or their economic operator) must show CE mark on products and the conformity assessment must be carried out by an EU NB. From a practical point of view, products may carry both UKCA and the CE markings provided that marks are visible and with no overlap. UKCA marking is not recognised by the EU.
UKNI mark is the new conformity marking that applies to construction products sold within the Northern Ireland market. In this market, the new UKNI marking does not replace the CE marking.
Products certified by an EU approved bodies (EU NB) continues to show CE mark only. However, construction products certified by a UK-recognised ‘approved body’ must carry both CE and UKNI marks when sold in the Northern Ireland market.
Declaration of Conformity (DoC)
The Declaration of conformity is the manufacturer’s formal declaration that a product complies with all applicable requirements, directives and regulations. The DoC confirms that the product is designed and manufactured in line with the essential requirements and it has been through the appropriate conformity assessment processes.
Declaration of Performance (DoP)
The Declaration of performance provides information on the performance of a product and is the manufacturer’s formal acceptance of responsibility for their product performing as declared.
The DoP allows manufacturer to communicate essential product characteristics like fire resistance or airtightness. It ensures that the selected product will perform as needed under desired conditions and it is suitable for the purpose as stated in the DoP.
A DoP is required when placing a product on the market either covered by a harmonised European standards (hEN) or UK designated standards or issued with a European Technical Assessment (ETA).
Designated Standards in Great Britain
Starting from the 01 January 2021, and following the end of the EU exit transition period, the UK designated standards (the new product regulations in the UK) have replaced all the existing relevant harmonised European standards (hENs).
The designated standards, together with the relevant UK horizontal standards on assessment methods, create a common technical language and are used by UK approved bodies for the assessments of construction products. A lost of designated standards for construction products is provided on the UK Government website. Currently the harmonised European standards and the new UK designated standards are identical; however, it is envisaged that differences will develop over time.
Post-Brexit construction products and Ongreening ProductMAP
We want to reassure our users and existing customers that Ongreening will continue to provide an independent and reliable services through its unique Green Product Material Library, ProductMAP.
As part of the Ongreening’s continue evolution, the new UK Conformity Marking Regulations for construction products are considered already in ProductMAP.
Construction products are automatically assessed by the Ongreening’s proprietary product mapping tool against 44+ major green building rating schemes, such as LEED, BREEAM, BRE HQM, WELL, Estidama, etc. ProductMAP uses more than 11,000 sustainability and functional criteria, including UKCA, UKNI and CE marks.
The Ongreening team is continuously monitoring the situation and adapting accordingly, evaluating what is changing, what may change in the future and how it may affect our users, customers and the wider construction industry. This is also achieved thanks to a strong network with professionals and institutions across the construction industry. For further information and advice can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org