The United Kingdom (UK) government just announced on August 24, 2021 that the requirement for manufacturers to adopt the UK Conformity Assessment (UKCA) mark for goods placed in the UK market has been postponed.
Businesses can already use the mark – which replaces the European Union’s (EU) CE mark – but there is now no obligation to do so until January 1, 2023.
Extended Grace Period
In the majority of cases, businesses and manufacturers have been able to voluntarily use the UKCA mark since January 1, 2021 to demonstrate their conformity, but there was a grace period to January 1, 2022 where the CE mark could still be used. However, there is a limited category of products for which there was no grace period and UKCA marking has been mandatory since the end of the Brexit transition period. These are products which require mandatory third-party conformity assessment, and that assessment has been carried out by a UK approved body.
For products included in the grace period, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that the UKCA mark will not now need to be applied until January 1, 2023, rather than the original date of January 1, 2022. The government will be introducing legislation under section 8 of the European Union Withdrawal Act later this year. Medical devices are to be exempt from the January 1, 2023 deadline, and will not need to use the UKCA marking until July 1, 2023.
Requirements for the UKCA and UKNI Mark
The UK markings of UKCA and UKNI, like the CE mark, are required for a large range of products from construction materials to electrical goods to toys. It shows that manufactured goods meet British safety standards.
Having left the EU, the UK government introduced its own markings for Great Britain and Northern Ireland to allow it to establish its own product safety rules. A product that fails to meet the required UK marking standards can result in costly fines and even permanent shelving of the product.
The Result of Limited Capacity
Before this announcement, many trade bodies and organizations had repeatedly warned that the UK did not have sufficient enough capacity to handle the huge demand for the testing of products that the introduction of the new mark would require. That need remains and there is still work to be done to ensure the UK has this capability, even in light of the deadline extension.
Conformity assessment tests could have cost up to £50,000 per product and testing for some building products – such as radiators, sealants, adhesives, specialist glass, and types of ironmongery – is currently limited or non-existent in the UK. Many hope that this increased time will allow for wider testing options and availability.
An Opportunity to Prepare
The new date for adoption (January 1, 2023) will be a “final date”, while the government said that the delay was in recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses.
With this in mind, if your business or product is in need of extra assistance in the UKCA or UKNI labeling process, our UKCA mark compliance and UKNI mark compliance consulting service is ready to assist. Reach out today with any questions you may have about the new compliance requirements!