UKCA: What is it and How Does it Affect Me?

UKCA

Upon leaving the European Union, the UK was required to have its own legislation covering a products conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards. This legislation has historically been managed through the process of CE Marking a product. The UK government have now introduced the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain; however, CE marking must still be used for selling goods in the EU.

What does the UKCA mark mean?

As with the CE mark, the UKCA mark is a mandatory mark on a product to show that it conforms to UK legislation. A product can have it conformity assessed and self-declared by the manufacturer, and then the marking affixed to the product. Alternatively, an authorised representative may be used.

Is the CE mark still valid?

The UKCA marking is not recognised on the EU market. Products sold in the EU will therefore continue to need CE marking. In some cases it may be necessary to have UKCA and CE marking on products that are sold both in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and the EU. CE marking continues to be necessary in Northern Ireland which remains aligned with the EU single marking in terms of the trade of goods.

Do I need to start using UKCA marking?

The UKCA mark came into effect on January 1st 2021. There is however an adjustment grace period allowing you to continue using the CE mark until January 1st 2022. The new marking does not apply to existing products – therefore anything fully manufactured and CE-marked prior to January 1st 2021 is not subject to being assessed and marked to UKCA standards. These products can still be sold in Britain with a CE marking.

You need only use UKCA marking prior to 1st January 2022 if all of the following are applicable to your product:

• The product is to be sold on the market in Great Britain

• The product is covered by legislation which requires the UKCA marking

• The product requires mandatory third-party conformity assessment

• The conformity assessment for the product has been carried out by a UK conformity assessment body

What are the differences between UKCA and CE marking?

Most of the differences between the two marking processes are administrative and indicate that UKCA is only applicable in the UK and only requires information in one language. In some ways this simplifies the process because technical information is stored in one location and only in English. The other major difference only applies to products where CE accreditation was received through a UK Notified Body accreditor. If this applies to your products then you should liaise with your accreditor to transfer certificate to EU-established Notified Bodies.

What technical documentation is needed?

Similarly to CE marking the information you keep will vary depending on the specific legislation relevant to your product. You must keep records of:

• how the product is designed and manufactured

• how the product has been shown to conform to the relevant requirements

• the addresses of the manufacturer and any storage facilities

This information should be kept in the form of technical file which should be made available if requested by a market surveillance authority. The technical file must be kept for up to 10 years after the product is placed in the market.

Do I require UK Declarations of Conformity?

The UK Declaration of Conformity must be drawn up for products lawfully bearing a UKCA marking. As stated previously, products manufactured prior to January 1st 2021 do not need to be UKCA marked, but must be CE marked where applicable. Where products are CE marked, then it is necessary to have a CE Declaration of Conformity.

Are standards changing?

The British standards institution is committed to the European standards (EN) and international standards system and having ‘harmonised standards’ remains beneficial for both CE and UKCA marking. BSI currently have no plans to withdraw any EN standards, but the UK designated standards (copies/variants of the harmonised standards) may start to differ slightly as UK authorities implement changes to standards that are not fully in-tune with UK practices and law.

For more information on UKCA marking visit the UK government website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-ukca-marking

Get In Touch

HGL Systems have introduced a number of new products to market, and have the experience of compiling technical documentation as well as assessing conformity to appropriate legislation. Although UKCA marking is relatively new, HGL Systems can help you get your product ready for sale in the EU and the UK.

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