Brexit – New Compliance Regulations

As of 1 January 2021, UKCA marking will replace CE marking.  Therefore, most products that previously required CE marking will need to have a UKCA mark to be sold on the UK market.

Thankfully, to give businesses time to adjust, most products can be sold with CE marking until 1 January 2022. The UKCA standards are initially expected to mirror EU standards.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions on UK and CE conformity:

FAQs – UKCA and CE Marking

Q: What is CE and UKCA marking?

A: CE marking is a self-declaration where a manufacturer proves compliance with EU health, safety and environmental protection legislation and confirms a product’s compliance with relevant requirements. In the same way, UKCA marking proves compliance with UK legislation.

Q: What do CE and UKCA stand for?

A: CE is Conformité Européenne which is French for European Conformity. UKCA stands for UK Conformity Assessment.

Q: Where does CE and UKCA Marking enable you to sell your products?

A: With a CE mark, the product can be sold in the EU. To sell in the UK market, a UKCA mark will need to be affixed to all relevant products.  In Northern Ireland, CE marking will continue to be valid, alongside the UK(NI) mark.

Q: Who is responsible for marking a product?

A: CE directives affect manufacturers, importers and distributors/retailers – though the manufacturer is responsible for acquiring the CE or UKCA mark and ensuring it is placed on the product, packaging or paperwork, depending on specific legislation.

Q: How do you go about conformity marking?

A: There are six steps to CE and UKCA marking:

  1. identify the relevant directives and standards
  2. Verify the product’s specific requirements
  3. Identify if an independent conformity assessment is necessary
  4. Test the product
  5. Draw up technical documentation
  6. Add the respective marking to the product

Q: What are the new rules specific to UKCA marking?

A: Following Brexit the UKCA mark will be the standard conformity mark as of 1 January 2021, although most products can continue to use CE marking until 1 Jan 2022.

The products that are required to have the UKCA mark are any that satisfy all of the following conditions:

  • The product is for sale on the GB market
  • The product will require UKCA marking
  • The product will require a third-party conformity assessment
  • The conformity assessment has been carried out by a UK body

This does not apply to any existing stock ready for sale on the UK market prior to 1 January 2021.

Q: What CE and UKCA marking directives are there?

A: UKCA directives are set to be almost completely aligned with CE Marking directives. Some examples of CE Marking directives include Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), Radio Equipment (RED, formerly R&TTE) and Low Voltage (LV)

Q: What conformity tests are commonly carried out?

A: Common testing for compliance includes tests for radiated emissions, conducted emissions and telecommunications port emissions.

Q: Who monitors compliance marking?

Across the EU and UK, market surveillance bodies are in place to ensure product compliance. The directives which apply to the product will determine which market surveillance body is responsible for the product. The way in which enforcement is managed will very across Europe, depending on how it is written into law in that country.

Q: What happens if a product is found to be unsafe?

A: If an enforcement body finds a product to be unsafe, manufacturers will usually be given a chance to rectify the problem. Failure to do so will oblige the manufacturer to take the product off the market.

Unsafe products are shared in the EU via RAPEX on measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of end users.

Q: What size must the UKCA or CE Mark be?

The size of the CE and UKCA mark must be at least 5 mm high, and the letters kept in the same proportions to the full-sized mark.

Q: How should the mark be affixed if it is impossible to place it on the product itself?

If the appearance of a product does not allow for the CE marking to be affixed, the marking has to be affixed to its packaging or accompanying documents.

In the UK, manufacturers can, in most cases, have the UKCA Mark affixed to packaging or an accompanying document, even if there is space on the product itself. This is a transitional measure that ends on 1 January 2023.

Q: How does conformity testing take place?

A: EMC and RED (Radio Equipment Directive) testing which is usually conducted during product development.


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