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Last edited 26 Apr 2021
Brexit standards, products and regulatory updates
This brief update explains where the industry is with standards, products and regulatory alignment post-Brexit. Additional updates on Brexit repercussions are featured online, including a broad overview on how it affects you in business and as an Architectural Technology professional.
As Architectural Technology professionals, we are constantly using and referring to standards which, for the past 40+ years, have been harmonised with European Standards. One of the consequences of Brexit is that consideration needs to be given to all of our regulations (Building Regulations etc.) which make reference to standards.
An example would be within English Building Regulations, Approved Document B, where fire classification has been idefined by European Standards. The reason for standardisation is self-explanatory, but post-Brexit, the UK must operate under its own standards’ framework. This does not mean that European Standards are lower or higher; it just means that the testing and certification for products for use within the UK are no longer able to carry the CE mark. Products have to be tested and approved by a UK testing authority.
The critical issue for Architectural Technology professionals is the matter of legislation and specification. We and our clients have become used to specifying standards and writing specifications making reference to British and European standards without thinking twice. Our standards, contracts, specifications and regulations all have European standards hard wired into them and we must instead start referring to new UK standards, although EN standards will always be there.
 Products: use of CE marking
The UK manufacturing sector is no longer a member of the CE conformity marking scheme and is not able to use the CE mark for sale of goods within the UK. There is a UK notified body that is responsible for all relevant conformity marking. There are other arrangements for Northern Ireland.
All testing that is certified in the UK by UKAS is no longer part of the CE scheme. Any testing that is based in the UK will only be able to certify products for sale in the UK and any products for export to the EU will have to be tested on ‘European’ soil.
Transitional arrangements are that from 31 December 2020 until 31 December 2021, materials and manufactured items which already have CE marking will continue to be able to be distributed without having to be re-branded with a UK conformity mark.
 Regulatory alignments: movement of goods and materials
In 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 had a far reaching effect on the UK’s stock levels of construction goods and building materials. Certain times of year normally give merchants an opportunity to restock materials, but a combination of factors restricted this. Manufacturers were slow to react to the reinvigoration of the construction sector and struggled to keep up with demand, whilst other goods were being sold elsewhere across the world at higher prices.
Brexit has created a ‘different’ strain on the procurement of goods and materials with tariffs being introduced that were not present before. This directly affects prices for import and export. Items, including any component parts specified from abroad before 1 January 2021.
 What do we need to do as Architectural Technologists?
With the looming tariffs and logistics for movement of goods from the EU to the UK and stock levels, we may need to start looking closer to home for the specification of materials and products coming from local manufacturers.
This article originally appeared under the headline, 'Brexit: Updates' in the Architectural Technology Journal (at) issue 136 published by CIAT in winter 2020. It was written by Kevin Crawford MCIAT, President Elect and Steven Hedley MCIAT, Vice-President Technical.
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