Manufacturers who use the EU-recognised CE mark on their products face a rush to prepare for the replacement UKCA mark for use in Great Britain. Manufacturing Advisor Andy Hinton explains the differing requirements and what you need to do next.
*This blog was amended in August 2021 following a government announcement to extend to the CE mark phase out deadline in Great Britain from 1 January 2022 to 1 January 2023
In November 2020 I wrote a blog on the CE mark and what was due to change after the EU Transition Period came to an end. While the thousands of UK-manufactured products that required a CE mark continue to do so to be sold in the EU, we now have a new ‘UKCA’ mark that is replacing it in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
It’s time to act
The timeline for preparing for the UKCA mark is short, and for some the requirements have already begun. Stock manufactured before 31 December 2020 can still use the CE mark in Great Britain until the end of 2021. However, any product manufactured since then that requires third-party conformity assessment which has been carried out by a UK-based assessment body needs to have the UKCA mark applied immediately.
From 1 January 2023, all products placed on the GB market will require UKCA marking. CE marking in the EU will continue unchanged. The UKCA mark is not recognised in Northern Ireland, so products sold there will need to be either CE marked or UK(NI) marked.
- Products placed on the GB market: UKCA (CE allowed until the end of 2022 for some goods, except those outlined above)
- Products placed on the EU market: CE
- Products placed on the NI market: CE (if using an EU-based assessment body) or CE and UKNI (if using a UK-based body).
UKCA is NOT a kitemark
There have been some anecdotal reports that businesses may be applying the UKCA mark to their products in the mistaken belief that it is just a declaration that the product was made in the UK.
This is not the case – the UKCA mark should only be applied to products where there is a regulatory requirement to do so. Using the mark incorrectly is illegal.
CE vs UKCA requirements
At the time of writing my previous blog, it wasn’t yet clear if there would be any differences in the requirements for the UKCA mark compared to what manufacturers may be used to with the CE mark. Thankfully, things are now clearer.
If you supply into the EU as well as the UK, you should have two ‘technical files’ going forward – one for the UKCA mark, referencing the relevant UK regulations, and one for the CE mark referencing the EU regulations.
This is important. If you continue to hold just one technical file based on the EU rules, and these rules happen to change, you will not be able to use the CE mark to sell in Great Britain, even before the end of 2022. Everything will need to be UKCA marked immediately.
If you only sell into the GB market, you will need to change your technical file for the CE mark to match the corresponding UK regulation for the UKCA mark. This also applies to products being imported from elsewhere – your documentation should reference UKCA requirements going forward.
As with the CE mark, for most products you can still self-certify that you meet the requirements for the UKCA mark. This means you can produce your own Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and conduct your own conformity assessment in most cases.
Notified bodies and authorised representatives
If your product requires third-party conformity assessment under the regulations, you must use a UK-approved notified body for UKCA marking, as EU-based bodies are no longer recognised in the UK. For CE marking you will require an EU-based body.
Similarly, to market in the EU you will need an EU-recognised authorised representative (also known as an economic operator). Be prepared for the additional time and expense of ensuring double coverage if you sell into both markets.
So what now?
If you haven’t already done so, it’s really important to get started on reading through the relevant UK regulations and designated standards for your product and start pulling your technical files together. It’s a mistake to simply continue following the EU rules – they are very similar right now, but that can and will change in future.
Of course, if you export to Europe, you need to keep abreast of the EU rules as well. In effect, that means you need to do double the work if you sell into both markets.
We can expect a rush towards the end of 2022 as manufacturers try to get everything finalised, meaning those supporting businesses with the switch – such as notified bodies and authorised representatives – will be under a lot of pressure. So it’s best to move now and avoid the traffic jam.
Andy Hinton, Manufacturing Advisor
Andy is a highly skilled process improvement specialist with over 20 years’ experience as an Advisor for the manufacturing and engineering sector.
Previously of the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Andy is a Lean Six Sigma practitioner who has helped increase productivity in hundreds of businesses. He is also highly knowledgeable on new product and process design, supporting businesses to embed cultural change or launch products to new markets.
Andy is also skilled at integrating digital technologies within operations and supporting businesses to capture and analyse data to influence decision making.
To view Andy's full profile including technical capabilities and industry experience, please click here.