Liam Poole, Portfolio Manager at Knauf, discusses the new UKCA product marking and how this is being managed at Knauf.
Brexit has brought about many challenges for manufacturers, one of which is new product marking. For the last eight years it has been mandatory for manufacturers of construction products in the UK to have their products CE marked in order to legally sell them anywhere within the EU, including the UK. This followed the introduction of harmonised standards across the European Union.
Since Brexit came into effect however, UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking has been introduced to replace the CE marking for Great Britain. The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which require the CE marking or UKNI marking.
For British construction product manufacturers, these changes have required careful planning. At Knauf our product marking transition is well underway with a focus on one product group at a time. We started with chemical based products such as sealants and glue, and are currently transitioning into interior metals.
Despite the marking changes, for the most part the standards are harmonised which means that if a product currently has CE marking it should also be eligible for UKCA marking. However, the changeover does not happen automatically.
While there is no additional testing required, the paperwork must go through an accreditation body for review. For customers, this element of due diligence may provide additional reassurance of the legitimacy of a product’s Declaration of Performance (DoP) which describes its characteristics, such as the extent to which it is fire resistant.
A key part of our product marking transition strategy has been clear communication with our key stakeholders. The change in product marking has caused some confusion in the marketplace so it is clear that further education on the topic is still required. We have held a number of workshops with customers to clarify the new regulations.
The UKCA marking came into effect on 1 January 2021, however manufacturers can continue to use CE marking until the end of 2021 in most cases.
In addition, the new marking does not apply to existing stock. We have been working closely with distributors to make sure they understand the nuances of the regulations, and that selling CE marked product is still permitted. This will continue to be the case in 2022 so long as the product was fully manufactured and placed on the market for sale before 31st December 2021. This will ensure stock is not wasted.
In terms of the products themselves, there will be no difference despite the marking changes. In fact, in the majority of cases, Knauf products will carry dual CE and UKCA marking.
Certainly, for products bound for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Knauf will use both the UKCA and CE / UKNI markings which, as the regulations are currently written, will cover products in both countries.
Knauf will continue to monitor any regulatory changes and update activity accordingly; for ongoing information, visit https://www.knauf.co.uk/about-us/company-updates.
Correct as per Government Brexit Guidelines at the point of publication. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/transition