UKCA marking, what is it and do we need it?

Much has been written about UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking, mainly because of the confusion and delays that surround it. 

Currently it is due to come into effect on 1st January 2025 as part of the Brexit process – the less said about that the better! But given that UKCA marking became part of UK law on 31 December 2020 (through The Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019) and was meant to applicable to construction products in mainland UK on 1 January 2022, which was then delayed until 31 December 2022, and is now due to come into effect on 31 December 2024, who knows what will happen between now and then – especially with an impending election and possible change of Government.

So that’s where we’re at with UKCA from a legal perspective, but what does it mean for the products you purchase?

UKCA effectively replaces CE marking and the Declarations of Performance that have to be applied to construction products, attesting to their conformity with European health, safety, and environmental protection standards.

CE marking has been introduced by the COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 93/68/EEC of 22 July 1993 and, as members of the European Union, the United Kingdom was required to sign up to the legal framework to enable the free movement of products into the UK from the European Economic Area (EEA), and out of the UK into the European Economic Area. Basically, the application of the CE logo on a product demonstrated that the products sold by a manufacturer or importer achieved a set minimum standard of performance in a range of areas. This ensured a minimum acceptable quality across the members of the EU – in theory.

Due to Brexit we now find ourselves with a situation where the EEA continues to use CE marking to demonstrate product conformance and allow the free movement of goods, but the EEA does not recognise UKCA marking as it is specific to mainland UK only, leading to the big question – why do we need UKCA marking if it is not recognised within the EEA?

British and European standards (many British Standards are EU based hence BS EN references) cover many products and some set performance criteria, a 3rd party certificate such as a BBA can verify product performance to standards. With many building insurers moving to the requirement for 3rd party certification for a product to be used on one of their buildings, the place of UKCA seems to be in question – not to mention it’s another cost that gets passed on through a product. Controversial question time – Do we actually need UKCA?

Next month: Safe delivery and storage of insulation