Mutual recognition with EU of construction products must be stronger

Mutual recognition with EU of construction products must be stronger

BLOG · BY TTF HEAD OF TECHNICAL AND TRADE NICK BOULTON· 30 March

While for 2021 CE or UKCA will be acceptable as UK conformance marks, it remains the case that from 1 January 2022 only UKCA marked products are valid on the UK market.

To supply EU and UK markets EU suppliers will need two certifications. A lack of mutual recognition effectively means there is set to be a duplication of both effort and cost. Now even as the market moves to meet these new requirements, there remain questions which make compliance tricky, and for many it is unclear whether these changes are even possible in the allotted time frame.

As it stands only UK approved bodies can oversee UKCA marking, with a possibility of subcontracting to EU bodies. But fundamentally this still means EU suppliers will be dealing with two Declarations of Performance (DOP) and two separate compliance marks – which may well double the current cost.

For CE 2+ products, such as C24 / TR26, LVL, OSB, Particleboard and MDF, EU suppliers seeking to maintain access to the UK market will now need to either engage a UK Approved Body directly, or encourage their EU Notified Body to subcontract with a UK Approved Body.

For CE 1 and 3 products, such as fire products, there is currently no mutual recognition of EU and UK testing facilities, which means EU Suppliers may need to retest products before UKCA marking. This would significantly increase cost, and there is no indication from either the UK or EU about whether or when this lack of recognition may be addressed.

For European Technical Assessment (ETA) products, there is currently no system developed to allow UKCA marking. EU and the European Organisation for Technical Assessment (EOTA) hold the current copyright of ETAs, and are currently either not willing or not able to share them with the UK. This again could mean EU suppliers may need to retest products before UKCA marking.

Of course it is not just timber products affected by these changes. We are not alone in our concerns and will be working hard with our counterparts across the construction products industry to lobby government to extend the implementation, ensure EU suppliers can maintain access to UK markets, and for greater mutual recognition of construction products.

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