Construction products not included in CE marking U-turn

The Department for Business and Trade has said that the indefinite extension of the use of the CE marking in products made by UK businesses does not include the construction products sector.

In the latest u-turn of proposed post-Brexit regulations, the government has announced that UK businesses will be able to continue using the CE marking indefinitely. However, the Construction Products Association (CPA) published a warning saying that the indefinite extension does not include construction products.

CPA's chief executive, Peter Caplehorn, said in a statement: "The CPA warns, following clarification from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), that the UK government announcement today (1 August) about an indefinite extension to the use of CE marking for UK businesses does not pertain to the construction products sector. Rather, the situation for our sector remains the same; that is, recognition of the CE mark for construction products in Great Britain will continue until 30 June 2025, when implementation of the UKCA marking scheme is set to become mandatory.

"We fear that policy makers do not fully understand or appreciate the gravity of this policy position not only for our sector and the construction industry, but indeed for any government ambitions related to the UK's housing, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and wider built environment."

The CE (French for 'European conformity') mark is used on products that are traded on the single market in the European Economic Area. It guarantees that they have been assessed to meet high safety, health and environmental protection requirements.

However, after Brexit, the government decided to move to a United Kingdom Conformity Assessed (UKCA) product marking systems to replace the European standard.

Changes were due to come into force on 1 January 2022 but business leaders complained that forcing them to meet new UK rules would come with significant cost at a difficult time for the economy. 

The construction industry raised concerns about whether the sector was ready for the changes, with uncertainty about availability and capacity of testing for products under the new regime.

The government responded by extending the CE mark to be allowed alongside UKCA in products sold in the UK until 30 June 2025. Although DBT said that it will extend the European marking indefinitely following "extensive engagement with industry," DLUHC later clarified that construction products are not included in the extension. 

Caplehorn added: "The CPA has long argued that every day that manufacturers have to wait for clarification from government causes more damage. This uncertainty has exacerbated product availability issues, led to UK and foreign manufacturers pulling products from the UK market, diminished investment and R&D, and therefore negatively impacted jobs and the ability of the product sector to support the UK construction industry every day.

"We hope that today's announcement reflects a new appreciation by policy makers of the cost and burden caused by the CA Mark scheme. We will appreciate further discussions with the government to ensure the UK construction products sector sees similar clarity very soon." 

This story first appeared on Construction Manager

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