Outstanding area of concern not resolved by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement

Outstanding area of concern not resolved by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement

The CPA Techincal and Regulatory team have updated the latest paper regarding areas of concern on the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This is set as a result of the post-Brexit UK-EU Trade Deal, particularly around the transition from CE Marking to CA Marking. To read more on the subject, you can access the paper here.

FIS CEO Iain McIlwee stated:

This is worrying long list given the time available.  We need to be having conversations with the supply chain and checking our contracts to ensure that we are not going to get landed with liquidated damages because availability of a product or component becomes an issue.  We continue to ask members to come forward with any specific problems that they face and to work with the CPA, CLC, Civil Service and our political masters to ensure that we don’t leave construction in the lurch because of practical problems resulting from political indecision and resource”.

Outstanding area of concern not resolved by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement

FIS issues guidance on Conformity Marking

As the deadline for transition from CE to UKCA marking approaches, and in response to continuous industry pressure over capacity and capability, there has been an announcement from the Government regarding some provisions that have been agreed to simplify UKCA marking for products in England, Scotland and Wales.

The full guidance from the Government can be found here, but the principal changes of interest as they relate to construction products are summarised below.

Spares – The UK will continue to accept spares onto the GB market to repair, replace and maintain products to the same conformity requirements in place at the time the original product or system was placed on the GB market.

  • Businesses will need documentary evidence to demonstrate the intended use of a product as a spare part.
  • This applies to products in stock as spares before the deadline. FIS is seeking further clarity on whether any nuance exists for construction products after the deadline.

Imported Goods – Existing CE marked stock imported into GB under contract before the end of 2022 will not need re-testing and re-marking.

  • Products imported into GB for further manufacture or processing, will not be considered as placed on the market.
  • FIS is seeking further clarity on the definition of “further manufacture or processing”.

Re-Testing Costs – Manufacturers whose products are tested under AVCP System 3 by an EU notified body before 31 December 2022 can use this evidence to obtain a UKCA mark without having to retest through a UK approved body.

  • All new testing after this date must be done through a UK approved body.

Reduce Re-Testing Costs – The UK will allow certificates provided by non-UK conformity assessment bodies (CABs) issued before the end of this year to be used as a basis for UKCA marking certification.

  • The goods must still bear the UKCA marking, and will need to undergo conformity assessment with a UK Approved Body at the expiry of the certificate or after 5 years (whichever is sooner).

There is no clarification at this time if the EU intends to mirror any of these simplification measures, so it is assumed that there are no relaxations on the use of EU notified bodies and/or CE marking goods that are being sent to the EU.

Please take some time to review how this will impact your businesses and let us know what outstanding questions or inconsistencies remain so that we can feed these back to Government.

FIS has created how-to guidance for its members which can be Conformity Marking – how-to guidance.

 

Government to make it simpler for businesses to apply new product safety markings

Government to make it simpler for businesses to apply new product safety markings

The Government has made an announcement regarding the transition to the UK marking ahead of the ending of recognition of CE marking on the 31 December 2022. You can find that announcement here.

The change will allow manufacturers with existing type tests from EU notified bodies under AVCP System 3, where the product was tested by the 31 December 2022, to affix the UK mark to their products, and to continue to supply them to the GB market without needing to be retested.  You can find the latest government guidance here.

This is a welcomed move as it helps to keep products flowing while industry wrestles with many other significant challenges.

It is important to recognise, however, that there are still a number of significant questions that need to be worked through, such as the persistent shortfall in capacity of the UK certification and testing sector; ensuring that investment and innovation continue to be attracted in to the UK; and a range of more detailed and critical technical matters.  Through the Construction Products Association, we will be pressing for further clarity on a number of pressing issues in particular:

  • What is the position of products in the future placed on the market after the deadline, if UK testing and certification does not exist they will still be blocked from the market?
  • How will the UK testing and certification capacity be encouraged to fill the gaps or will specialist product areas be allowed to use facilities outside the UK?  This is also needed to ensure products being brought on to the UK market from outside the UK can be certified and tested without delay.
  • In addition, there are still a significant number of standards to pass through the system, some critical to industry.
  • Finally, the position in regard to EOTA data and formal confirmation of its use in the UK needs to be confirmed.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us on 0121 707 0077 or email info@thefis.org  

Visit the FIS Brexit Toolkit here

Conformity Marking – how-to guidance

CICV calls on Scottish Government to intervene on timing of UKCA mark

CICV calls on Scottish Government to intervene on timing of UKCA mark

The CICV is calling on the Scottish Government to intervene and help address concerns raised by Scottish construction businesses over the introduction of the new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark.

The unique alliance’s Post-Brexit and Trade Group has written to Business Minister Ivan McKee (pictured above) requesting assistance as CICV businesses grapple with new UKCA conformity assessment and certification arrangements that replace CE Marking after 31 December this year.

The UK Government is introducing a new “UK Conformity Assessed” mark for goods placed on the market in Great Britain from 1 January 2023. Ministers seek new powers to end the recognition of CE Marking in favour of UKCA Marking in the recently passed Building Safety Act.

CICV has highlighted the deep frustration among manufacturers and importers that there is at present no route to accept historic test data and reports from EU Notified Bodies for use in complying with UKCA Marking.

This poses a particular problem, it says, for goods in relation to the Assessment and Verification of Performance (AVCP) System 3. If manufacturers and distributors want to continue selling their goods in Great Britain, they have to be re-tested and certified by an accredited UK Approved Body.

The CICV is concerned at the lack of progress between the UK Government and individual companies, trade associations and certification and testing bodies to prepare properly.

It argues that there is insufficient testing capacity and capability for manufacturers to have their goods assessed and certified for the British market, using UK-based Approved Bodies, by the end of this calendar year.

The letter says: “There are simply not enough approved companies or qualified people to conduct the huge number of assessments and certifications required to gain UKCA Marking in time.

“For example: there are no UK Approved Bodies able to test:

  • insulation: most types of pipe insulation and duct insulation;
  • trench heating: most types for residential, commercial & municipal buildings;
  • renders: several types of synthetic renders and render-based brick slips;
  • glass: several types of coated and laminated glass inc. mirrors;
  • plastic pipes: several types of thermoplastic pipes for underground drainage.

“For other goods, there are scant few UK Approved Bodies available:

  • radiators: only one approved company whose entire annual capacity is fully booked;
  • fire doors: only two approved companies for smoke leakage tests;
  • sealants: only one approved company – most tests take up to 3 months to allow for curing.”

The CICV says that with continued uncertainty about as-yet-unknown future regulations, large capital costs for SMEs to invest in more or new equipment and facilities and next-to-no time available to find and train specialist staff, there is little appetite for businesses to take the plunge.

The letter says: “Whitehall has told businesses to prepare for the end of CE Marking on 31 December 2022. Legislation is required but the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) cannot give a firm date for this.

“The risk is that faced with ongoing difficulties – like higher raw material, energy, labour and transport costs and other inflationary pressures – businesses do not bother, hoping somebody will come up with answers in time.”

It continues: “CICV says the situation is fast becoming serious for British manufacturers who are already spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on testing to both UK and EU standards. With eight months to go, there are too many unresolved questions about post-2023 arrangements.

“The preferred solution is for ministers to pause now that the Building Safety Act is on the statute book and take heed of what industry is telling them. The CICV view is that deferring the 31 December 2022 date is obvious and necessary and UK ministers should move quickly to say so and dispel uncertainty.

“Drafting the statutory instruments to bring in new provisions is critical and must be done correctly to avoid unintended consequences that harm British businesses. It is sensible and pragmatic to delay the secondary legislation to allow business to prepare properly.

“If the situation described is not resolved (and soon), the logical conclusion is that goods cannot be sold after 1 January – and construction, housebuilding and property RMI will slow down or stop.”

The letter concludes with the CICV asking the Scottish Government to recognise the concerns expressed and to see if there is scope within devolved powers to assist. “Any representations you can make to the UK Government on our behalf would be gratefully appreciated”, it adds.

Alan Wilson, MD of SELECT, the representative trade body of Scotland’s electro-mechanical sector, and who chairs the CICV, said: “With this submission to Mr McKee we are hopeful that that the Scottish Government can bring its influence to bear on this matter and allay the well-founded fears of CICV members.”

Brexit: Office of Product Safety on Northern Ireland

Brexit: Office of Product Safety on Northern Ireland

As you will have no doubt seen in recent news, the Government has announced it will introduce legislation to fix the Northern Ireland Protocol, which will act as a safeguard should the UK be unable to agree proposals with the EU through negotiations.

The legislation being introduced would remove customs processes for goods moving within the United Kingdom. It will allow businesses to choose to follow either UK or EU regulations under a dual regulatory approach,  removing barriers to goods made to UK standards from being sold in Northern Ireland and cutting the processes that drive up costs and disincentives businesses. The legislation will fix issues so that people in Northern Ireland can benefit from the same tax and spend policies as everyone else in the UK. The UK has also made clear that goods which are destined for the EU will continue to undergo full processes applied under EU law as they do now and apply safeguards to avoid non-compliant products entering the EU Single Market.

You do not need to take any action now as we will continue to operate within current “standstill” arrangements, meaning you can move goods in exactly the same way as you do today, including existing grace periods and easements. Furthermore, you can continue to trade frictionlessly across the island of Ireland. The UK Government will be working closely with businesses as the new arrangements are developed and will communicate how any changes will work well before any changes come into effect.

Office for Product Safety and Standards

For more on Brexit see our Brexit toolkit

CE marked products required to be UKCA if placed on the market from 1 January 2023

CE marked products required to be UKCA if placed on the market from 1 January 2023

FIS issued a reminder this week that new product marking requirements are still set to be introduced from 1st January 2023.  From this date it will no longer be legal, except in Northern Ireland, to place CE marked products onto the UK market.  Products previously covered by a Harmonized Standard (e.g. ceiling systems) will be required to be UKCA marked if they are placed on the market from 1 January 2023. 

Beyond this period UK compliant Declarations of Performance will be required to refer to Designated Standards and may need to be retested by a UK Approved Body. 

Distributors and manufacturers of products and contractors purchasing products are reminded to check that their supply chain have this in hand as soon as possible to ensure that there are no interruptions to supply in the New Year.  Remember that that this may impact components that are bought seperately and integrated within your products such as glass, electric motors or hardware.

FIS is aware that there are major bottlenecks at UK test houses and there are concerns that essential testing may not be completed before the deadline.  

If for any reason you or your suppliers experience problems, please let us know as soon as possible.  FIS is feeding concerns into Government directly and via the CPA and continuing to press for an extension to this deadline, so that we can let Government know that this may result in delays to projects.

More information on the UKCA Marking is available here

To visit the FIS Brexit Toolkit Click Here