Last edited 12 Jun 2024

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UKCA and CE marking; changes in detail


[edit] Introduction

Since the UK left the EU it became independent of European regulations, including those that gave the the UK the CE mark. As such these are no longer applicable within the UK, which has brought about the need to implement a regime for the marking of particular products to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet all legislative and regulatory requirements, for sale and use within the UK and Northern Ireland.

This change to the legislative landscape presents significant issues that could provide regulatory barriers to the passage of goods and services between the UK and the EU. In the short term the UK are adopting the EU Harmonized Standards into the UK standards regime.

These events brought about the need to adapt, if not rewrite, the certification system for goods and services to meet UK current and future needs.

During the years the UK was part of the EU, new products and services were developed, and certified as fit for purpose through the CE marking regime. As a member state of the EU and EEC, the European Economic Community (joined in 1973). The UK were a major contributor to the development of EU and International Standards across many fields related to the Built Environment Sector, in particular under the Construction Products Regulations.

Far from being completed at the time when this article was initially written, the process to define new certification rules was at an advanced stage, since being updated these updates have been in continual development..

Within the UK Conformity Assessed marking, UKCA mark, does not apply to Northern Ireland, where specific rules under the Northern Ireland Protocol are in place, even though the situation is not yet fully resolved, giving rise to the UKNI mark. “A hybrid situation” exists: UKCA on its own is not sufficient and must be supplemented with a UKNI mark or a CE for goods and services.

Goods and services that are UKCA marked should not be used in the EU unless the product is dual marked carrying both CE and UKCA marks. The same applies with CE marked products, for them to be used in the UK they would also need to be dual marked or carry the UKCA mark.

Whilst both the EU and UKCA marks are issued on the basis of compliance with the relevant EU / UK standards, this does raise a long-term question. At present both EU and UK are ostensibly the same with UK adopting CE Harmonized Standards, in practice this means there is little or no difference. However, over time it is possible that UK standards diverge from those used in the EU.

The Building Safety Act and changes arising in such areas as fire safety highlighted from the Grenfell enquiry are likely to impact the development of UK Standards, and are likely to result in UK standards being different to their EU equivalents.

[edit] What UKCA is and what stands for

The word “UKCA” is the acronym of “UK Conformity Assessed” while UKCA Marking refers to the stamp that is put on a product to testify to the correct completion of the certification process. Who is familiar with CE marking will find nothing new in that. However, how to arrive at the marking, when to use, how to recognise genuinely marked products from the counterfeited ones are different matters.

UKCA marking came into effect on 1st January 2021 [1] but an extension was granted up to 1st January 2023 to allow businesses to make the proper arrangements, specifically in a period of a pandemic that affected the markets quite badly. [8] Later, new changes introduced an even more mild approach, as we will see.

The UKCA marking is intended to replace the CE marking on various products and to be the reference in the UK. However, it does not mean that UKCA marking will remain the only type of marking.

[edit] Actual frame rules in the UK

[edit] What was required before 2023

There were two deadlines in 2023 which may have generated confusion:

Until the 1st January 2023 the need to use the new UKCA only existed if all the following applied to a product:

The products in stock were excluded by the above rule. [2] As an example, if a product was fully manufactured, CE marked and ready to place on the market before 1st January 2021, it could still be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body before 1st January 2021. However, these goods needed to be placed on the market before 31st December 2022. [4]

The legislation initially required that the UKCA marking was placed on a label affixed to the product or on a document accompanying the product until 31st December 2023. However, an extension has been defined: the new deadline is 31st December 2027 [13]. Until that date, it will still be possible to attach a label to the product when required. This will apply for most goods requiring UKCA marking, even though there will be different rules for the various categories of products:

From the 1st January 2028, when possible (e.g. if the size of the product allows for it), the marking shall be placed directly on the product.

[edit] How to apply UKCA Marking

[edit] General rules

The UKCA marking must be clearly visible and legible and should be applied to the product itself or the packaging or, in some cases, placed on the manuals or other supporting literature. All will depend on the specific regulations that apply to the product.

UKCA markings must only be placed on a product by the manufacturer or their authorised representative (where permitted in the relevant legislation).

The UKCA marking can used only if there is a specific requirement to do so in the legislation and implies full responsibility for the product’s conformity with the requirements of the relevant UK legislation.

A product may have additional markings and marks if they:

[edit] Rules for using the UKCA image

The UKCA marking can take different forms (for example, the colour does not have to be solid), as long as it remains visible, legible, maintains the required proportions, is at least 5mm in height – unless a different minimum dimension is specified in the relevant legislation.

Figure 1 - UKCA Mark Figure 1.png

[edit] Rules for using the UKNI image

Rules for UKNI are like those for the UKCA marking.

Figure 2 - UKNI Mark Figure 2.jpg

[edit] When a manufactured good is “placed on the market”?

UK regulation considers a good ‘placed on the market’ “when an offer or agreement is made for the transfer of ownership, possession or any other property right. Placing on the market can take place before the physical transfer of a product. It does not necessarily require the physical handover of a product. ” (E, 2023). It refers to each good, not a type of good and it does not require the physical transfer of the good.

The proof of placing on the market can be any relevant document ordinarily used in business transactions, including:

The proof relies on the relevant economic operator (whether manufacturer, importer, or distributor) also in case of demonstrating that the good was placed on the market before 1st January 2021. [3]

[edit] Check which rules apply to place a good on the GB market

What you need to do depends on the type of goods you’re placing on the GB market:

  • goods regulated under the old approach
  • goods covered by national rules (non-harmonised)
  • certain other UKCA-marked goods, such as medical devices and civil explosives.

Trade associations should be able to support explaining which regulatory framework applies to each type of goods.

There are also special rules for placing on the GB market products regulated “under other regulatory frameworks, such as those listed below. Furthermore, the Government will introduce legislation to recognise indefinitely goods that fall under the Department of Business and Trade and that meet EU requirements, including CE marking:

  1. toys
  2. pyrotechnics
  3. recreational craft and personal watercraft
  4. simple pressure vessels
  5. electromagnetic compatibility
  6. non-automatic weighing instruments
  7. measuring instruments
  8. measuring container bottles
  9. lifts
  10. equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres (UKEX)
  11. radio equipment
  12. pressure equipment
  13. personal protective equipment (PPE)
  14. gas appliances
  15. machinery
  16. equipment for use outdoors
  17. aerosol dispensers
  18. low voltage electrical equipment” (E & G, 2023)

"There are also specific rules for other products such as:

Northern Ireland businesses can place qualifying Northern Ireland goods on the GB market with an EU conformity assessment marking, such as the CE marking.

The table below tries to summarise the various cases of placing goods on the GB market. The list is generic and gives an overall view.

Type of good Accepted markings or combination of markings
Placing goods on the market in Great Britain Manufactured goods being placed on the GB market until the end of 2024 UKCA or CE [5]
Placing qualifying Northern Ireland goods on the market in Great Britain (unfettered access) Qualifying Northern Ireland goods being placed on the GB market under unfettered access CE or CE and UKNI

Table 1 - Placing goods on GB market

[edit] Mandatory third-party conformity assessment for the UKCA marking

Where mandatory third-party conformity assessment was required for CE marked goods, it is also required for UKCA marked goods.

This conformity assessment needs to be carried out by a UK-recognised conformity assessment body in order to be marked with the UKCA marking. The conformity assessment procedures are the same as were required for the CE marking.

The UK Market Conformity Assessment Bodies (UKMCAB) database lists all bodies which can provide conformity assessment for the UK market.

Where self-declaration of conformity is permitted for CE marking this is also the case for UKCA marking.

[edit] Using the CE marking

[edit] CE marking for the GB market

The initial approach from the UK Government was to list types of products covered by the UKCA marking and products with special rules. As shown before, the new decision was “to extend recognition of good that meet EU requirements (including the CE marking), indefinitely, beyond 31 December 2024 for many products”; those included in the 18 categories listed in the section above.

[edit] CE marking for both the GB and EU market

The UKCA marking will not be recognised on the EU or Northern Ireland markets. Products currently requiring a CE marking for sale in the EU will continue to need a CE mark (and meet the other EU rules).

UK approved bodies may be taking steps to allow exporting to the EU without needing to find an EU notified body.

Alternatively, there is the need to apply for a new certificate from an EU notified body to be able to sell products in the EU. In this case, the UK and the EU notified bodies may exchange information about the conformity assessments in place for a given product to facilitate the procedure in the EU.

This is a critical point as, missing the right CE marking, the product can be seized and its importer in the EU can be held accountable for not respecting the regulation. It goes per se what can be the consequences of a product that causes injuries to a customer and it was not properly certified against EU regulation.

[edit] CE marking if you’re placing a qualifying Northern Ireland good on the GB market

Northern Ireland business should still be able to place qualifying Northern Ireland goods on the GB market with an EU conformity assessment marking (such as the CE marking) after 31 December 2022 if any of the following apply:

This will be valid even if there are changes between the EU rules that the Northern Ireland Protocol applies to and GB rules, as part of the government’s commitment for Northern Ireland businesses to have unfettered access to the rest of the UK market.

[edit] Placing goods in Northern Ireland

The UK left the EU and agreed to the Withdrawal Agreement which included the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland (known as the Northern Ireland Protocol). For the duration of the Protocol, Northern Ireland will align with all relevant EU rules relating to the placement of manufactured goods on the market.

Manufacturers placing products on the Northern Ireland market should be aware that:

The next table is specific for construction products and shows the accepted markings for different markets.

Type of good Accepted marking or combination of markings*
Supplying goods (which are not qualifying Northern Ireland goods) to the market in Great Britain
Construction product being supplied to the GB market until 30 June 2025 UKCA or CE or CE & UK(NI)
Construction product supplied to the GB market from 30 June 2025 UKCA
Supplying qualifying Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain (unfettered access)
Construction product which is a qualifying Northern Ireland good being supplied to the GB market under unfettered access provisions from 30 June 2025 CE or CE & UK(NI)

Table 2 – Accepting markings for different markets for construction products

[edit] Using both the CE and UKCA marking

It appears evident that both the CE and UKCA mark can be placed on a product so long as neither impedes the visibility of the other and requirements of both the GB and EU legislation are met.

The essential requirements and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity with them for UKCA marked goods have not changed. That means that if a good is currently made to the technical requirements necessary for CE marking then it will be made to the same technical requirements that exist for UKCA marking. However, the conformity assessment bodies that test them may need to be different.

[edit] Legal responsibilities

[edit] Appoint an authorised or responsible person in the UK

Great Britain does not recognise UKCA authorised representatives and responsible persons based in the EU: they will need to be based in the UK for products being placed on the GB market.

For the CE marking, the EU does not recognise authorised representatives and responsible persons based in Great Britain (B, 2020).

[edit] Manufacturers

The regulation specific for each product will determine the definitions and requirements for economic operators. In general, a manufacturer is responsible for:

[edit] UK distributors and suppliers

As for the original EU regulations, also UKCA requires that someone is identified as an “importer”.

An “importer” is the first one bringing goods from outside the UK and placing them on the market in Great Britain or Northern Ireland. (O, 2023) If a Northern Ireland business wants to sell goods on the GB market that have been supplied to the company (as a distributor) from the EU market, the company will become an importer under GB rules.

If the good has already been placed on the UK market by someone else before, all other subjects who sell the same products later remain distributors without any additional responsibilities.

An importer needs to make sure that:

This measure applies to the following regulations:

The above requirements are valid for goods placed on the GB market regardless of whether they are CE or UKCA marked.

EU legislation UK legislation
Toy Safety - Directive 2009/48/EC Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011
Recreational craft and personal watercraft - Directive 2013/53/EU Recreational Craft Regulations 2017
Simple Pressure Vessels - Directive 2014/29/E Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016
Electromagnetic Compatibility - Directive 2014/30/EU Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016
Low Voltage Directive 2014/35 Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016
Non-automatic Weighing Instruments - Directive 2014/31/EU Non-automatic Weighing Instruments Regulations 2016
Measuring Instruments - Directive 2014/32/EU Measuring Instruments Regulations 2016
Lifts - Directive 2014/33/EU Lifts Regulations 2016
ATEX - Directive 2014/34/EU Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2017
Radio equipment - Directive 2014/53/EU Radio Equipment Regulations 2017
Pressure equipment - Directive 2014/68/EU Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016
Personal protective equipment - Regulation (EU) 2016/425 Regulation 2016/425 + Personal Protective Equipment (Enforcement) Regulations 2018
Gas appliances - Regulation (EU) 2016/426 Regulation 2016/426 + Gas Appliances (Enforcement) and miscellaneous Amendments Regulations 2018
Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
Outdoor Noise Directive 2000/14/EC Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations 2001
Eco-design Directive 2009/125/EC The Eco-design for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010
Energy Labelling Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 Energy Labelling Regulation (EU) 2017/1369 (as retained in UK law and amended)
Restriction of the Use of certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) - Directive 2011/65/EU The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012
Directive 2013/29/EU - Pyrotechnic Articles The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015

Table 3 - Current EU legislation for specific goods and corresponding UK legislation

Date/ Deadline Requirements/Event
31st Dec 2027 Date until which the UKCA marking needs to be placed on a label affixed to the product or on a document accompanying the product. [13]
30th Jun 2025 Deadline when the construction products being delivered to the GB market can hold either UKCS or CE or CE & UKNI marking. Later, only UKCA marking will be accepted. [14]
31st Dec 2024 Deadline when the accepted marking will be either UKCA or CE. [5]
01st Jan 2023

End of the extension granted to allow businesses to make the proper arrangements. Until then, the UKCA is mandated only under certain conditions. [8]

Deadline to use CE marking (if there are no differences between UK and EU requirements): after that date, the accepted marking will be UKCA only. [9] The certificate of conformity previously held by a UK approved body must have been transferred to an EU-recognised notified body before 1st January 2021. [10]

Products meeting Northern Ireland requirements and bearing the CE marking or CE marking with UK(NI) indication, and which are qualifying Northern Ireland goods, can be placed on the entire UK market on an ongoing basis from 01st January 2023. [11]

Pending a new regulation to be produced in 2022, all such products, whether qualifying Northern Ireland goods or not, can be placed on the entire UK market until 01st January 2023. [12]

31st Dec 2022

The above-mentioned products must be placed on the market within the 31st December 2022. [4]

Since 2022, a regulation for the products meeting Northern Ireland requirements should be should be in place. [6]

01st Jan 2021

UKCA Marking came into effect. [1]

Products in stock before that date can still be sold without being UKCA marked. [2]

It is upon the economic operator (whether manufacturer, importer, or distributor) to prove that a good was placed on the market before 01st January 2021. [3]

Table 4 - Critical dates and relevant requirements
Note: some dates are shown for historical reason and might have been changed by the evolving legislation.

[edit] Technical documentation

[edit] Record keeping

The documentation demonstrating that a company’s product conforms with the regulatory requirements must be kept by the company or their authorised representative (where allowed for in the relevant legislation) for usually 10 years after the product is placed on the market. (O, 2023)

This information can be requested at any time by market surveillance or enforcement authorities to check that your product conforms with the statutory requirements.

The information to keep will vary depending on the specific legislation relevant to your product. The following general records must be kept:

The information must be in the form of a technical file which can be supplied if requested by a market surveillance authority.

[edit] UK Declaration of Conformity

The UK Declaration of Conformity is a document that must be drawn up for most products lawfully bearing a UKCA marking. UK Government recommends that manufacturers have a separate UK Declaration of Conformity to their EU Declaration of Conformity.

In the document the manufacturer, or the authorised representative, should:

The UK Declaration of Conformity should be available to market surveillance authorities on request.

The information required on the Declaration of Conformity is largely the same as what was required on an EU Declaration of Conformity. Generally, it should include:

The following should be listed:

Legislative areas where self-declaration of conformity for UKCA marking is permitted are shown in the table below.

Legislation Scope of products which can be self-declared
Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 All products
Toy (Safety) Regulations 2011 All products except where designated standards covering the essential requirements either do not exist or have not been applied (either in full or in part) by the manufacturer. Or where one or more of the designated standards has been published with a restriction.
The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012 All products
Medical Devices Regulations 2002 Some Class 1 devices
Radio Equipment Regulations 2017 All products except where designated standards for regulation 6 (2) either do not exist or have not been applied by the manufacturer.
The Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 Category 1 pressure equipment
Construction Products Regulations (Regulation (EU) 305/2011 as brought into UK law and amended) Products within the scope of System 4
Recreational Craft Regulations 2017 Certain categories of recreational craft as specified in the legislation
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 All products
The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 Any machine which is not in Schedule 2, Part 4 of the Regulations. Any machinery that is in Schedule 2, Part 4 where the requirements of all relevant designated standards have been applied in full and where those standards cover all the applicable essential requirements.
The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2016 Equipment-group II, equipment category 3
Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010 All products listed in Schedule 1 with the exception of boilers as specified in retained Commission Regulation (EU) 813/2013

Table 5 - Legislative areas where self-declaration of conformity for UKCA marking is permitted

[edit] Counterfeit, fraudulent, and suspect items (CFSI)

Given all the variety of regulations and deadlines before us, it is critical to be vigilant on the possibilities of receiving counterfeit, fraudulent or suspect items. The list of cases is wide but the information available in this article provides already a good indication of what to pay attention to:

The British Safety Industry Federation offers examples of genuine UKCA and UKNI declarations and what to pay attention to.

Figure 2.png

Figure 3 - Examples of conforming UKCA certificates (BSIF, 2021)

Figure 3.png

Figure 4 - Examples of conforming UKNI certificates (BSIF, 2021)

  • When mandated by the law, instruction manuals must be provided
  • UKCA mark itself should comply with some criteria. A disproportion in the letter of the mark may be a mistake but may also be an indication that something is wrong. Better to investigate.
  • If needed, suppliers may be asked for additional evidence of the assessment done with a notified boy. They are not mandated by the law to offer additional information but, if requested by a client, they may be willing to clear any doubt by showing the integrity of their assessment process.
  • Attention should be paid to certificates reporting wording similar to “declaration of conformity”, which can be used to generate false confidence in the buyer. A “self-assessment” is something different from a declaration of conformity and may be insufficient to certify a product. Even a “self-declaration”, which we saw being accepted in some cases, may be used out of the strict provision of the law.

[edit] Conclusions

The presence of two product marking regimes could be viewed as a barrier to free commerce across international borders within the EU.

Any product for which the UKCA mark is not recognised by the EU or whose CE mark is not recognised by the UK, is limited to circulation in the territory it is marked for, with potential impacts for all stakeholders: customers and manufacturers on availability.

A possible way to avoid restrictions is the dual certification: UKCA and CE marking.
The solution is not cheap: dual certification means increasing the costs. So, an initial assessment is necessary and may result in some organisations withdrawing specific products or services from one or the other market due to costs being prohibitive when considering the level of sales in the given territory.

This may increase the bureaucracy of those companies willing to use dual certification. The latter requires involvement of two notified bodies, one for each regulation to be assessed (UK and CE) or using a certification body that can offer both certifications through their international subsidiaries.

The experience of the EU regulation has proved to be complex at best, specifically when the interests of manufacturers from different countries must be satisfied.

The new rules present a challenge for the UK to develop a system for Standards development that ensures goods and services meet regulatory standards and are fit for purpose.

For the time being, it is strongly recommended to acquire as much information as possible from the professional bodies and check the Government website for updates. After all, the story is yet to be written.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings

[edit] References

  1. BSIF (2022). British Safety Industry Federation. Is it genuine? Certificate checklist. [about:blank]
  2. (2020). Guidance. Placing manufactured goods on the EU market.
    Published 31 December 2020
  3. (2021). Guidance. Construction Products Regulation in Northern Ireland
    Last updated 09 December 2022
  4. (2022). Guidance. Construction Products Regulation in Great Britain.
    Guidance providing practical information for placing construction products on the GB market.
    Last updated 22 December 2022
  5. (2023). Guidance. Placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain. What you need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured products you place on the market in Great Britain.
    Last update at the time of this article 11 October 2023
  6. (2020). Guidance - Placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland. What you need to do to comply with regulations on manufactured goods you place on the Northern Ireland market. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy [about:blank]
    Last update at the time of this article 03 October 2023
  7. (2023). Guidance - Using the UKCA marking. Find out if you need to use the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking on products you manufacture or handle [about:blank]
    Last update at the time of this article 11 October 2023
  8. Made in Britain (2021). A guide to UKCA Marking.
  9. Using the UKNI marking (2023). Find out if you will need to use the new UKNI marking and how to use it.
    Last update at the time of this article 03 October 2023
  10. Made in Britain (2021). UKCA and CE marks advice updated – all you need to know.
  11. Made in Britain (2021). Businesses given more time to apply new product safety marking.
  12. Using the UKNI marking (2023). Guidance - Find out if you will need to use the new UKNI marking and how to use it.
    Last update at the time of this article 03 October 2023
  13. Product safety for businesses: A to Z of industry guidance (2023). Find out which regulations apply to your products and where to go for further information on how to comply with them.
    Last update at the time of this article 07 November 2023
  14. UKCA marking: conformity assessment and documentation (2023). Guidance - How to make sure that your products are properly checked for conformity and your technical documents are managed correctly.
    Last update at the time of this article 11 October 2023
  15. UKCA marking: roles and responsibilities (2023). Guidance - If the UKCA marking applies to products you manufacture or supply, you will have specific obligations and responsibilities for compliance, depending on your role.
    Last update at the time of this article 11 October 2023

Original article written by Giorgio Mannelli & reviewed by Jonathan Adshead on behalf of the Construction Special Interest Group (ConSIG) Thought Leadership Group (TLG former CWG). Article peer reviewed by the TLG and accepted for publication by the ConSIG Steering Committee 01/03/2024. The information in this article was accurate at the time of the review.


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