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Construction Products in a ‘No Deal Brexit’ World

Brexit / 08 October 2019

Currently, the Construction Products Regulation lays down standards for the marketing of construction products, which are developed by European standardisation bodies, and define the methods and the criteria for assessing the performance of the product.  Where a standard exists for a product, the Regulation places various obligations on manufacturers, distributors and importers of that product when it is placed on the market, including that it must have a declaration of performance and have been affixed with the ‘CE’ marking.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal on 31 October, legislation has been put in place which will mean that all existing European standards will become UK ‘designated standards’, so they will continue to apply as before.  Goods legitimately affixed with CE marking already on the UK market before the UK leaves the EU will therefore be able to continue to circulate in the UK.  Equally, goods which are made and assessed in the EU and legitimately carry the CE marking can continue to be placed on the UK market for a limited period.

There will however be a slight change for products that are manufactured and sold in the UK.  Going forward, certain bodies based in the UK and operating under the Regulation will be granted new UK ‘approved body’ status and be able to undertake conformity assessment activities under the new UK designated standards.  Where an approved body has undertaken the assessment, the manufacturer (or their authorised representative) must affix a ‘UKCA’ marking instead of the previous ‘CE’ marking.  The rules around affixing the new UK conformity marking will remain the same as the current CE marking however, and UKCA-marked construction products will effectively be identical to those with CE marking.

Another noticeable difference for the time being will be for UK manufacturers exporting to the EU, as it will be a matter for the European Commission to determine the necessary arrangements.  The European Commission has so far published a notice to stakeholders which states that:

“from the withdrawal date, UK Notified Bodies will lose their status as EU Notified Bodies and will be removed from the Commission’s information system on notified organisations (NANDO).  As such, UK bodies will not be in a position to perform conformity assessment tasks pursuant to Union product legislation as from the withdrawal date…  Where economic operators hold certificates issued by a UK Notified Body prior to the withdrawal date and plan to continue placing the product concerned on the EU-27 market as from the withdrawal date, they are advised to consider either applying for a new certificate issued by an EU-27 Notified Body or arranging for a transfer – on the basis of a contractual arrangement between the manufacturer, the UK Notified Body, and the EU27 Notified Body – of the file and the corresponding certificate from the UK Notified Body to an EU-27 Notified Body, which would then take over the responsibility for that certificate.”

If you would like any further information and/or advice regarding what steps you would need to take if you will be affected by the above changes, the government has recently published updated guidance setting out actions for firms that manufacture and sell construction products within the UK and EU (a copy can be found here).

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