The transition from Conformité Européenne, or CE, marking to the new United Kingdom Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark had originally been scheduled for the end of 2021. It has now been extended until the end of 2022.
This means that CE marked goods, that meet EU requirements, may continue to be placed on the GB market for another year.
Reports suggest that British industry was insufficiently prepared for the switchover.
The end of CE recognition in Great Britain is a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The Northern Ireland protocol to maintain free trade with the Republic of Ireland means that CE marking remains valid there, at least for the time being.
Roofing contractors were among organisations struggling to meet the initial deadline. James Talman, chief executive of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, said: “At a time when we are facing some of the worst material availability and inflation in living memory, this announcement will come as a welcome relief for manufacturers and merchants. We have been telling the government that the 1st January 2022 deadline was not feasible for some time, with many products simply unable to receive certification by the deadline. I am glad that the message has now got through. This extra time will provide much-needed breathing space for supplies to undertake the necessary tests and acquire the correct paperwork. The government should now work with industry to ensure the supply chain is fully prepared for the new 2023 deadline, particularly smaller firms, so we do not face similar problems in the future”
Construction Leadership Council co-chair Andy Mitchell said: “Given the widespread pressures on product supply, we welcome this pragmatic decision by the Government to extend the deadline for CE-marked products. However even with this extension, it will still be very challenging to ensure that the whole sector is ready for the new date, given the need to drive major increases in testing capacity.
“It is vital that industry continues to work with the government to address these issues, ensuring that we don’t just postpone the crisis by 12 months, but instead establish a robust testing and marking regime to ensure the continued safety and performance of the products that we use.”
Builders Merchants Federation chief executive John Newcomb said there was still work to be done. “The government’s decision to postpone planned changes to product marking rules for 12 months is good news and gives welcome breathing space,” he said. “It allows more time to rectify complex technical issues so that British and European manufacturers can work towards gaining UKCA Marking, but further action is needed. There are currently not enough approved companies or qualified people to conduct the huge number of assessments and certifications required, and the extension does nothing to nurture what limited testing capacity and capability there is within Great Britain. We would like to see more support for a home testing market.”
He added: “There is a danger that simply extending the time period for CE marked goods to be placed on the GB market is just kicking the can down the road, and not providing a long term solution.”