CE Marking – Are you in the know?
To help ensure that our Stone Federation members are well-placed to navigate the new legislation and trading requirements, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the changes to the CE Marking & UCKA Marking requirements.
What if I’m buying or selling stone in the UK?
Since 1st January 2021, the UK has moved from CE Marking, required as part of European regulations, to the new UKCA Marking which replaces it.
Companies placing natural stone products covered by harmonised product Standards on the UK market can switch from CE Marking to UKCA without the need for retesting. All that is needed is to change the CE Mark to the UKCA Mark. This is because almost all natural stone products come under ‘System 4’ for the assessment and verification of constancy of performance (AVCP). Under this system, the economic operator (producer, importer, supplier, etc.) takes the lead for the testing and for the declaration of performance and does not have to use an EC notified/ body or other accredited 3rd party. This means that providing that the properties of the stone remain unchanged, the economic operator can continue to use the same data to prepare their ‘declaration of performance’ referring to the UKCA Marking when this is made available.
The requirement for the stone to be UKCA marked when placed on the UK market applies to all products covered by harmonised product standards – stone from the UK, EU 27 countries, and 3rd counties in Europe and across the world. CE Marking of products placed on the market in the UK is still allowed but only until 1st January 2023.
In Northern Ireland, CE marking, and UK(NI) marking will be applied – for more information on this, we suggest that you refer to the Construction Leadership Council’s guidance which can be found on their website.
What about when I’m exporting products to Europe?
When exporting products from the UK to EU 27 countries the economic operator should switch back to the CE Marking with the paperwork just as before the beginning of the year.
The EU will be able to accept UK test house results and likewise, the UK will be able to accept European test house results.
What about European Standards?
It is anticipated that while CE Marking and UKCA will be operated as two separate schemes, European Standards will still be followed in the UK. This is because CEN is not part of the European Commission and so the UK, via the BSI can remain a part of CEN even if it is not a part of the EU.
Should there be a change in a European Product Standards or testing methods, it is currently thought that the UK, via the British Standards Institute, will adopt any new European Standard. There is the potential for the UK to decide to not adopt a Product Standard or to cite a new Product Standard that is not cited in EU 27, but for the present everything will look the same.
What about contractors and specifiers?
Most of the changes affect producers, distributors or importers of natural stone as they are the ones placing the product on the market, but there are areas where contractors and specifiers will also need to make changes in their procedures. The most likely area to see changes will be in procuring stone for projects where the change from CE Marking to UKCA Marking should be most clearly seen. The test data shouldn’t have changed, though it’s always good if the economic operator is keeping up to date and providing new test results, due diligence should verify that the paperwork correctly refers to UKCA Marking. In addition, where the contractor is drafting specifications, these should also reflect the change to the use of UKCA Marking.
Contractors may also notice changes in the procurement of construction products needed for the installation of natural stone, for example, fixings, cement, cavity barriers or insulation. In these cases, UKCA marking will require a UK Approved Body to undertake the work in cases where an EU 27 notified body provided the certificates in the past.
At a time when there have been so many changes in what we do and how we do it, it is hoped that the change from CE Marking to UK Marking will be one of the more straightforward ones. But if there are problems then the Stone Federation is here to help and to provide links to Government and construction organisations.
If you still have questions about the changes, you can use our technical email helpline – email@example.com.