Home>Fire>Alarms and Detection>“Indefinite extension” of CE mark not applicable to construction products in fire sector
Home>Fire>Evacuation>“Indefinite extension” of CE mark not applicable to construction products in fire sector
Home>Fire>Fire Doors>“Indefinite extension” of CE mark not applicable to construction products in fire sector

“Indefinite extension” of CE mark not applicable to construction products in fire sector

07 August 2023

THE DEPARTMENT for Business and Trade has announced the Government’s intention to “indefinitely extend” the use of CE (Conformité Européenne) marking for commercial products. However, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has confirmed that this decision does not apply to construction products within the fire industry. As a result, and if they’ve not already done so, many fire safety system manufacturers producing solutions intended for the market in Great Britain will still need to obtain the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark ahead of the June 2025 deadline.

The move at Westminster comes as part of a wider package of “smarter regulations” designed to ease business burdens and help grow the economy by cutting barriers and red tape. Following “extensive engagement” with industry, British firms will be able to continue the use of CE marking alongside the UKCA mark.

Kemi Badenoch, the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, has “acted urgently” on this issue to “prevent a cliff-edge moment” when the UKCA mark is set for entry. According to the Government, this intervention will “ensure businesses no longer face uncertainty over the regulations” and can “cut back on unnecessary costs”, in turn freeing them up to focus on innovation and growth.

Tackling red tape

Kevin Hollinrake (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business and Trade) has stated: “The Government is tackling red tape, cutting burdens for business and creating certainty for firms. We’ve listened to industry and we are taking action to deliver. By extending the use of CE marking across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy.”

Tina McKenzie, policy chair at the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “It’s welcome to see the continued recognition of CE-marked products. This will allow time for small firms to adjust to the UKCA marking system and focus on growing their business both at home and overseas.”

Stephen Phipson, CEO of manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, noted: “This is a pragmatic and common sense decision that manufacturers will very much welcome and support. It’s an announcement that will help to safeguard the competitiveness of manufacturers and aid the UK as a destination for investment. It should bring more confidence about doing business in the UK and recognises the need to work with the reality of doing business. Make UK has worked extensively with the Government in pushing hard for this decision and we’re pleased that the ongoing engagement has delivered this positive outcome.”

Flexibility and choice

The extension will provide businesses with flexibility and choice to use either the UKCA or CE approach to sell products in Great Britain.

In practice, the update applies to the 18 regulations that fall under the Department for Business and Trade. Those regulations are focused on toys, pyrotechnics, recreational craft and personal watercraft, simple pressure vessels, electromagnetic compatibility, non-automatic weighing instruments, measuring instruments, measuring container bottles, lifts, equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres (ie ATEX), radio equipment, pressure equipment, personal protective equipment, gas appliances, machinery, equipment for use outdoors, aerosols and low voltage electrical equipment.

As stated, many businesses in the fire industry will still need to obtain the UKCA mark by 2025 in order to comply with goods regulations and ensure the safety and reliability of their products.

The Fire Industry Association has stated that the organisations “remains dedicated” to supporting its members throughout this transition and “fostering a safer and more secure environment for all”.

Response from the CPA

The Construction Products Association (CPA) has also been swift to assert that the situation for the construction sector remains the same following the announcement rom Westminster. That is, recognition of the CE mark for construction products in Great Britain will continue until 30 June 2025, at which juncture the implementation of the UKCA marking scheme is set to become mandatory.

Peter Caplehorn RIBA, CEO at the CPA, commented: “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 in general, but indeed for any Government ambitions related to the UK’s housing, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and wider built environment.”

Caplehorn continued: “The CPA has long argued that each and every day 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 construction industry in the UK every day.”

In conclusion, Caplehorn asserted: “We hope that this announcement from Government reflects a new appreciation by policy-makers of the cost and burden caused by the UKCA mark scheme. We will appreciate further discussions with Government to ensure the UK construction products sector sees similar clarity very soon.”