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4th February 2019

No Deal Brexit, CE marking and UKCA conformity assessment

The clock ticking down to the Brexit is getting louder. Yet there is still little clarity nor certainty on what, if anything, will happen on B-day.  A quick Google search of UKCA brings up the UK Cheerleading Association as the top three hits. Unfortunately cheerleading isn’t going to help in this situation!

The government has released details on product safety marking in preparation for a no-deal Brexit. The UK Conformity Assessment mark has been created to address the problem surrounding the future use of UK Notified Bodies. This is for products that require third party conformity assessments.  These are usually products that have an increased requirement for safety and conformity such as medical, fire and products in explosive atmospheres.

 Don’t Panic

The good news is that if your products don’t require third party conformity assessments nothing changes and there is no change to the CE mark on your product. You will have the option of using the UKCA mark instead of the CE mark on your product.  While the CE mark will still be recognised in the UK, the UKCA mark won’t be recognised in Europe. Products exported beyond UK shores will need to be dual marked with UKCA and CE marks adding complexity and expense.  At the time of writing the only benefit I can see for using the UKCA mark for self-declaration products is to promote “Made in Britain”.

If your product requires third party assessment and that assessment has been performed by an EU-27 body or if the certificate of conformity has been transferred to an EU body then the CE mark still applies.

There will be a time limited transitional period whereby products assessed by UK notified bodies and placed on the market before 31st October 2019 can continue to be sold legitimately.

The future

After 31st October 2019, UK notified bodies lose their status as EU notified bodies and can’t be used for CE marking assessments. There are some agreements between UK and EU notified bodies allowing test reports from one body to be accepted by another. In my experience there is often a gap in the testing that needs to be addressed before acceptance.

As there will be a transition for products already on the market and a no-deal Brexit is only a possibility, the best approach at this point would be to wait and see what happens.  The only exception to this is if the product is currently being tested by a UK notified body and will not be certified and placed on the market by 28th March 2019.  In that case talk to the notified body urgently and see if they have transitional arrangements are in place.

As CE marking will still be accepted in the UK, manufacturers will not want to spend the the time, cost and administration overheads of testing and marking the products for both UKCA and CE and will have to use EU-27 Notified Bodies for third party testing. I would be surprised to see many UKCA marks in use.

If you’re worried about this and want to discuss it further, give us a call on 0115 772 2825.