Brexit Happened...Now What?

FAQs about the new UK Conformity Assessed mark

As we fast approach the end of the Brexit transition period—December 31, 2020—one of the known changes that will occur is the introduction of a new certification mark for the United Kingdom. Similar to the European Union’s CE mark, the UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark can be placed on goods destined to the Great Britain market beginning January 1, 2021. Beginning January 1, 2022, the UKCA mark will be mandatory. 

Many of you may be wondering how this will impact the current certification of your products. While all the details of the new UKCA mark are not defined as yet, we can tell you that there will be a transition period from January 1 to December 31, 2021. During this time, the ATEX or CE mark will also be accepted for the UK market. 

According to Witali Engelhardt, FM Approvals operations vice president and manager of new business development for EMEA, FM Approvals will support new and existing customers with the required certification procedures that will allow the use of the UKCA mark.

“The customer will need to first let us know that they want to obtain the UKCA mark”, he says. “We will then provide them with a proposal for the associated certification services." For existing ATEX or CPR certificates that have been issued by FM Approvals, it will not be a complicated process. The new certificate will be very similar to their existing FM Approvals report. We will use FM Approvals’ historical data from previous projects for the issuance of the UKCA certificate.” 

UKCA Marking Guidance and UKCA FAQs – As of November 2020

The UK Government has issued guidance regarding the placement of products on the Great Britain (GB) market when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, 2020. The UKCA mark is not required for Northern Ireland.  The UK Government has made provision for a UK Conformity Assessed mark to apply to products being placed on the GB market from the January 1, 2021. The UK Government has also established a transition period to December 31, 2021.

The UKCA mark will take the place of the EU requirements for ATEX and CE Marking and will indicate that a product placed on the GB market meets the UKCA marking requirements. FM Approvals is committed to providing the relevant UKCA mark certification services and has become a UK Approved Body designated by the UK Secretary of State. FM Approvals is currently working with the relevant stakeholders on the details of the requirements for the UKCA mark. 

Below are the most common questions we have received in regard to the UKCA mark. The UK Government has not, as yet, finalized all the details on how the UKCA marking scheme will work and this document will be updated as more information becomes available.    

1. What is the UKCA mark?

The UKCA marking is a new UK product conformity mark that will be used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland – see Question 3 below regarding Northern Ireland). It covers most goods which previously required the ATEX or CE marking. It will not be recognized on the EU market. Products will still need an ATEX or CE marking to be placed on the EU market.

UKCA logo

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The four-digit number under the UKCA mark will be the UK Approved Body number for FM Approvals and indicates that FM Approvals has issued:

  • the UK Quality Assessment Notification for ATEX equipment, or
  • the UK Certificate of Constancy of Performance for CPR construction products
  • the UK Certificate of Factory Production Control for CPR construction products

The current intention is that this will be the same number as the existing Notified Body number.

2. What are the rules for placing of the UKCA mark? 

UKCA markings must only be placed on a product by the manufacturer or the manufacturer’s authorized representative (where allowed for in the relevant legislation). When utilizing the UKCA marking, the manufacturer takes full responsibility for the product’s conformity with the requirements of the relevant legislation.

The UKCA marking only shows a product’s conformity with the relevant UK legislation.

The manufacturer must not place any marking or sign that may misconstrue the meaning or form of the UKCA marking to third parties.

The manufacturer must not attach other markings on the product which affect the visibility, legibility or meaning of the UKCA marking.

The UKCA marking cannot be placed on products unless there is a specific requirement to do so in the legislation.

The UKCA marking can be used from January 1, 2021. To allow manufacturers to adjust to the new requirements, it is possible to use ATEX or CE marking until January 1, 2022 (transition period) for products for the GB market. 

Until January 1, 2023, manufacturers of ATEX equipment placed on the GB market have the option to place the UKCA marking on the product or an accompanying document, e.g. instructions (not applicable for construction products). From January 1, 2023 the UKCA marking must be placed directly on the product. 

3. What about Northern Ireland?

The UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which require the ATEX or CE marking or UKNI—a Northern Ireland specific mark. 

4. Is there a transition period to go from CE to UKCA mark?

Yes, January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. During this period, ATEX or CE marked products will be accepted in the GB market.  This is a transitional arrangement during which the ATEX or CE mark will be accepted in the GB market.  It will provide manufactures the time to obtain the UKCA mark certification.

5. Are there any instances during the transition period where the ATEX or CE mark may become unacceptable? 

Only in instances that the EN (European Norm) rules/standards for a particular product has changed in 2021 and the UK does not adopt the new EN rules/standards.

6. What happens on December 31, 2021?

The transition period where the ATEX or CE mark will also be accepted to place goods on the market in Great Britain will end. It is advisable that manufacturers engage with the UK Approved Body at the earliest possible time to ensure the certificates are in place for this deadline. 

7. What organisations can offer the UKCA mark?

UK Notified Bodies, such as FM Approvals Ltd., have become UK Approved Bodies and be able to offer the UKCA mark from January 1, 2021. 

8. Where can manufacturers find these UK Approved Bodies?

It is the UK Governments intention to create a list of UK Approved Bodies similar to EU’s NANDO database.

9. When will it be possible to use the UKCA mark?

The guidance states that the UKCA marking can be used from January 1, 2021, however the full set of rules and requirements have yet to be defined by the UK Government. As UKCA certificates will not be mandatory until the transition period ends on the December 31, 2021, it is advised that manufacturers wait until all the rules and requirements are published by the UK Government before proceeding with a UKCA certificate.   

10. Is a new certificate required for the UKCA mark?

Yes, a new UKCA certificate will have to be issued by a UK Approved Body. 

11. What standards will the UKCA certificate use?

UK designated standards must be used rather than harmonized standards cited in the Official Journal of the European Union. The UKCA guidance page from gov.uk states that from January 1, 2021 the UK designated standards will be the same in substance and with the same reference as the equivalent standards used in the EU. However, they will use the prefix ‘BS’ to indicate that they are standards adopted by the British Standards Institution as the UK’s national standards body.

12. Where can the list of the relevant UK standards be found?

It is the UK Governments intention to create their own Official Journals for the different product categories. Initially it is likely that this list of standards will be identical to the standards published in the EU Official Journal for the relevant EU Directive or Regulation, but this might diverge over time.

13. Can both the UKCA and ATEX or CE mark be placed on products?

Yes, provided they fulfil the associated requirements for both certification schemes. 

14. Do UKCA issued certificates issued in 2021 have to be in line with the latest (UK) Standards as published in the new ‘UK list of official Standards’ (this meaning that all older certificates will need to be updated)?

In relation to the equipment for potentially hazardous areas, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have been asked for more clarity on this.

15. Who will accredit the UK Approved Bodies and UK Technical Assessment Bodies?

UKAS will provide accreditation on behalf of The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for ATEX and of The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for CPR.

UKAS is the United Kingdom’s national accreditation body.  

16. Can you sell UKCA marked products into the EU?

No. There is no indication from the EU that there will be any mutual recognition of conformity marks, pending any formal agreement being reached between the UK Government and the European Union. Therefore, manufacturers selling across the UK and EU markets will need to continue marking EU products with the CE mark.

17. What is a UK Quality Assurance Notification (QAN) Certificate?

As part of the UKCA approval for ATEX products a new UK QAN certificate will also be required that has been issued by a UK Approved Body. An EU ATEX QAN will not be acceptable to demonstrate compliance with the audit requirements of the UK legislation.

18. Is the UK QAN certificate different to the EU QAN certificate?

Whilst it is the intention that they are the same, there has been an acknowledgement that there will be some differences between the two certificates. These details are not available at this moment, however the base standard used for auditing will still be ISO/IEC 80079-34.

19. What is the UK Declaration of Conformity?

The UK Declaration of Conformity is a document which must be drawn up for most products lawfully bearing a UKCA marking. It is likely to be identical to the one currently required under EU Directives and Regulations but must be in English and reference UK law and UK standards

In the document, the manufacturer, or the manufacturer’s authorised representative (where allowed for in the relevant legislation), should:

  • declare that the product is in conformity with the relevant statutory requirements applicable to the specific product
  • make sure the document has the name and address of the manufacturer (or authorised representative) together with information about the product and the conformity assessment body (where relevant)

The UK Declaration of Conformity should be available to market surveillance authorities on request. Declarations shall be in English.

20. Can manufacturers self-declare for Category 3 hazardous area products?

As with the ATEX Directive, the UK Statutory Instrument that addresses Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres, also permits a manufacturer to self-declare under his sole responsibility its compliance with the essential health and safety requirements for Category 3 electrical equipment. Equipment that could be declared complaint under the sole responsibility of the manufacturer under the ATEX Directive can still be declared compliant under the new UK regulations.

21. Declaration of Performance

A new Declaration of Performance for the UK market will not be required until the construction product is affixed with the UKCA mark provided:

  • The obligations of the harmonised standard and the UK Designated Standard for the construction product remain the same. 
  • The construction product is affixed with the CE marking. 
  • The Declaration of Performance is written in English.

22. Are AVCP systems for construction products to remain the same?

The UK Government has indicated that UK Designated Standards will remain the same as in Harmonized Standards. This means that rules (incl. Assessment and Verification of Constancy of Performance (AVCP) systems) around the affixing of the UKCA marking will be equivalent to current CE marking requirements.  As a result, manufacturers will not see a change in the type of third party assessment of conformity carried out.

23. Is a new test report required for the UKCA mark?

No, unless the product has changed, or the test method has changed in the standard since the test report was issued.  

24. What bodies can provide the relevant documentation if a manufacturer wishes to voluntarily affix the UKCA Mark when the construction product is not covered by a UK Designated Standard?

UK-based EU Technical Assessment Bodies, such as FM Approvals Ltd., have become UK Technical Assessment Bodies from January 1, 2021. 

These UK Technical Assessment Bodies will be able to issue the required UK assessment documents and certificates for manufacturers to voluntarily affix the UKCA mark when the product being placed on the GB market is not covered by a UK Designated Standard.

25. Where can manufacturers find these UK Technical Assessment Bodies?

It is the UK Government’s intention to create a list of UK Technical Assessment Bodies similar to the EU’s NANDO database. 

26. Who will accredit the UK Technical Assessment Bodies?

UKAS is the United Kingdom’s national accreditation body and the understanding is that they will audit UK Technical Assessment Bodies and recommend accreditation.