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Fire Sector Federation to examine UKCA implications for fire safety providers

10 December 2020

THE FIRE Sector Federation has established a Product Assurance Group specifically to consider those issues relating to standards of assurance of fire safety products, their use and trade implications. The Product Assurance Group’s initial focus will be on the impact of UKCA marking, which is due to be introduced in 2021, and the longer-term considerations in the post-transition Brexit period.

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that will be used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking. The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which require the CE marking or UK(NI) marking.

The UKCA marking will apply to most goods currently subject to the CE marking. It will also apply to aerosol products. From 1 January 2021, the technical requirements (‘essential requirements’) to be met – and the conformity assessment processes and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity – will be largely the same as they are now.

The UKCA marking can be used from 1 January 2021. However, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, companies will still be able to use the CE marking until 1 January 2022 in most cases. In some cases, firms will need to apply the new UKCA marking to goods being sold in Great Britain immediately from 1 January 2021. The Government is encouraging businesses to be ready to use the UKCA marking as soon as possible before this date.

The CE marking will only be valid in Great Britain for areas where Great British and EU rules remain the same. If the EU changes its rules and companies have CE marked their product on the basis of those new rules, they will not be able to use the CE marking to sell in Great Britain even before 31 December 2021.

Clarity for members

For its part, the Federation aims to provide clarity for members on imminent changes, along with advice to Government on future policy as it affects the fire safety sector.

Chris Miles, business development director at UL and chair of the Fire Sector Federation’s Product Assurance Group, explained: “The Product Assurance Group will draw on the unique pool of knowledge and expertise of fire-related matters within the Federation to provide the clarity to help our members navigate the complexities of the UKCA. We will also examine the long-term implications for a post-EU transition building safety regime, raising the bar on fire safety legislation with recommendations for Government policy beyond the current arrangements.”

The UKCA marking will apply to most goods currently subject to CE marking. It can be used from January 2021, but CE marking can still be used for a 12-month transition period up to 1 January 2022. CE marking will only remain valid after that where Great British and EU rules remain the same or if the EU changes its rules. The UKCA marking will not be recognised in the EU.