The government announced at the end of 2022 that the deadline for ending recognition of the CE mark and moving to the UK alternative has been extended to 30 June 2025. Another announcement followed in 2023 from the Department of Business and Trade outlining the government’s intent to extend recognition of the CE mark indefinitely for the majority of goods. This announcement did not include construction products.
This added even more ambiguity to an already very confusing policy space that only recently U-turned on simplification measures that had been adopted by product manufacturers. Where some simply missed the exemption around construction products, others believed or assumed for policy reasons that the indefinite extension to CE marking recognition would inevitably encompass construction products given sufficient time.
Subsequent announcements in January have seen new product groups (vacuum cleaners, mobile phones, toys, and demolition explosives) able to rely “indefinitely” on European safety marks to be sold in Britain. But again, critically construction products remain in a list with medical devices, marine equipment, rail products, cableways, transportable pressure equipment and unmanned aircraft systems having to meet separate rules and, in many instances, will need to be retested.
Discussions continue with UK Government, via the Construction Products Association and Construction Leadership Council, but with no formal announcement, we have no confidence that the situation will change for construction products. As we move ever towards June 2025, we once more find ourselves in a position where to rely on a reversal of this policy remains a risky proposition.
Those who place products on the market must continue to ask themselves if those products fall under the remit of the construction products regulation where the 2020 UK amendment states:
4.— (1) A person who supplies a construction product in respect of Great Britain that is covered by a designated standard or conforms to a UK Technical Assessment that has been issued for it shall be guilty of an offence unless—
(a) there is supplied with the product in accordance with Article 7 of the 2011 Regulation a declaration of performance for the product drawn up in accordance with Articles 4 and 6 of the 2011 Regulation;
(b) the product has affixed to it the UK marking in accordance with Article 8(1) of the 2011 Regulation.
For those who deal in products not covered by a designated standard such as partitions and internal doorsets, the issuing of a UK technical assessment remains a voluntary process, however in the case of ceilings (including ceiling kits and components) there is already a designated standard in place (BS EN 13964), and steps must be taken to carry out conformity assessments, issue declarations of performance (DoP) and affix UKCA/CE marking as appropriate.
In the absence of mutual recognition between UK approved bodies and European notified bodies it remains the case that there is no risk-free path forward in conformity assessments other than a complete duplication of efforts, unless the manufacturer is exclusively pursuing trade in only one of these jurisdictions.
FIS has written a more in-depth guide to conformity marking which details more of the process and can be found here.