THE GOVERNMENTS‘ decision at the beginning of August to extend the deadline indefinitely for products to be CE marked in the UK was welcomed by many manufacturers.
It means that the products they make can continue to be certified to European standards (the CE mark) and don’t have to be tested for the UK conformity assessment standard (UKCA mark).
Business Minister, Kevin Hollinrake, said: “By extending CE marking use across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy.”
Construction Products Excluded
However, the deadline extension only covers 18 sector categories, such as machinery, covered by the Department for Business and Trade.
Crucially, the announcement does not apply to construction products, which are the responsibility of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
For construction products, the deadline to introduce testing to the UKCA standard continues to be 30 June 2025.
Peter Caplehorn, CPA Chief Executive
The Chief Executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA), Peter Caplehorn said: “Recognition of the CE mark for construction products in Great Britain will continue until 30th June 2025, when implementation of the UKCA marking scheme is set to become mandatory.
“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, but indeed for any government ambitions related to the UK’s housing, schools, hospitals, infrastructure and wider built environment.”
Call for Clarity
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) says it expects government to set out proposals for wider reform of the construction product regime, including the future of product marking, “in due course”.
It says it is working with the DBT and DLUHC to ensure clarity and a timetable “to enable the whole construction supply chain to prepare for changes in the current regime”.
The CLC is arguing for a consistent approach across all industry sectors and products to CE Mark recognition, and that this should apply to all construction products.
Peter Caplehorn said that lack of clarity in the announcement had caused “enormous amounts of confusion and discussion”.
The CLC is continuing to highlight that there is insufficient capacity in the UK testing system to apply the UKCA mark to all construction products from 2025.
It says that imposing the deadline will mean some construction products will be withdrawn from the UK market – echoing the CPA’s fears that the delivery of infrastructure, home building and domestic retrofitting will all be negatively affected.
Many industry leaders have pointed out that the testing houses that certify products simply don’t have sufficient capacity to re-test all products to the new UKCA standard.
Peter Caplehorn said, “It would take many decades and considerable investment to undertake all the necessary testing and certification solely in the UK, even if manufacturers could be persuaded to take part.”
Rico Wojtulewicz, NFB Head of Housing & Planning Policy
The National Federation of Builders (NFB), Housing and Policy head, Rico Wojtulewicz added: “Testing and capacity remain major challenges and therefore industry needs clarity and a clear direction of how the Government seeks to reform the UK’s construction product regime.”
Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were concerned that UKCA could lead to supply chain delays leading to a further slump in new homes being built.
“We are committed to ensuring the testing regime for construction products is effective and inspires public and market confidence,” said a DLUHC spokesperson.
She said proposals for construction products testing reform would be released in due course.
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