Post-Brexit products certification postponed to avoid supply crisis

Manufacturers have won an extra year to get products tested to comply with new UK certification rules originally due to replace CE marking in January 2022.

International and domestic manufacturers had threatened to pull products off the market given the long queues for getting their items tested by that deadline.

Construction Products Association, CPA, government relations and business development director Jeff May said: “To the government’s credit they realised some of the challenges were difficult to meet and couldn’t have happened at a worse time given shortages in imported supplies and tougher building safety regulation.”

The CPA had campaigned for the introduction of the UKCA mark to be postponed for two years to January 2024.

“We are cautiously optimistic that we can meet the new deadline although there will be a lot of challenges to do this,” said Mr May.

More testing houses needed

There is a shortage of testing capacity for products such as radiators where there is only one UK testing house capable of verifying 250 radiators a year. Currently, there are more than 5000 radiators that need re-testing to comply with UKCA requirements.

Electric cable producers, double glazing, lift manufacturers and the fire safety industry are also concerned about testing capacity for their products. They have highlighted that testing for complex products can take up to three months to complete.

The National Federation of Builders, NFB, said it was important for the UK manufacturing market to remain healthy especially given 75 per cent of products for house construction are domestically sourced.

NFB head of housing and planning policy Rico Wojtulewicz said: “This is a welcomed postponement as the industry wasn’t ready for the changes and with the covid chaos, many manufacturers were struggling with the testing requirements. The government took the correct step by working with industry and making this judgement.”

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were keen to see the number of testing houses increase to help smooth the UK supply chain and enable projects to finish on time.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department said it would continue to engage with manufacturers to ensure they understand what they need to do to get ready for the new January 2023 deadline.

The government has published the UK Market Conformity Assessment Bodies database which businesses can use to identify the appropriate organisation to certify their products.

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