16 December 2021
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Everything you need to know about UKCA marking (but were afraid to ask!)

With the UK leaving the EU from the start of 2021, most EU regulations were translated directly into UK law and those covering construction products are no different.
The UK now has its own Construction Product Regulations (UK-CPR) and all relevant construction products are to carry the new UKCA mark.
This includes a range of construction products from Tata Steel, and our customers will be pleased to know that we are ahead of the game in implementing this.

What is UKCA marking?

Following the UK leaving the EU, UKCA marking is replacing CE marking as the way to demonstrate compliance with product standards. This covers many different types of products, but in particular construction products which are critical to delivering the safe and efficient built environment of the future.

Like CE marking before it, the UKCA mark will be visibly attached to products. For many of our construction products, this means it will appear on product labels, test certificates and even in some cases printed on the product itself. The mark is accompanied by a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and a Factory Production Control (FPC) certificate.

When will UKCA marking come into force?

UKCA marking became the default means of certification from the 1st of January, 2021. However, there is a transition period for which CE marking will be accepted as an alternative. This transition period has now been extended until 31st of December 2022 due to difficulties in achieving the UKCA mark for some product types, but many products are already carrying the UKCA mark.

At Tata Steel, we have decided to implement UKCA marking well ahead of the deadline. With immediate effect, all applicable steel tube products manufactured by Tata Steel are now fully compliant with the UK CPR process and will carry the UKCA mark. This includes structural hollow sections as well as pipes for building and industrial services. This will cover all relevant products sold into the UK, whether produced in the UK or at our sites in Europe.

By implementing UKCA marking now, with over a year before the final deadline, we are helping our customers to ensure the smoothest possible transition towards UKCA marking. Although any CE-marked material placed on the market before the deadline will be deemed to comply, giving our customers this time to turn stock will ensure the simplest and most effective means of compliance with all regulations in both the UK and the EU.

Why do I see both a UKCA and a CE mark together?

In almost all cases, we are affixing UKCA marking alongside, rather than in place of CE marking. This is because many of our products manufactured in the UK can be used either in the UK or exported for use in the EU. Likewise, some of our products manufactured in the EU are used in the UK. In either case, our operations and our products are fully compliant with both UK and EU regulations.

This dual-certification approach allows both us and our customers the greatest flexibility. This dual marking also ensures that our products can be used in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland without any certification issues.

What differences will I actually see?

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be ensuring that the UKCA mark is applied to product labels and individual product marking where applicable. We are also implementing the UKCA mark on supplier documentation, including test certificates. Updated Declarations of Performance (DoP’s) for both UKCA and CE marking are now available to download from our website and Factory Production Control (FPC) certification is also available.

What if I still have some products with only the CE mark?

Any product placed on the market before the end of 2022 which bears the CE mark will be deemed to comply. That means that effectively anything sold with the CE mark is still compliant. However, by making this switch as early as possible, we are giving our customers the best chance to purge their stock and ensure that by the end of 2022, most of their stock already bears the UKCA mark.

Is all UKCA marking the same?

The UKCA mark provides a third party assurance that the product has been produced and specified in accordance with a UK designated standard. Although this may be almost identical to the EU harmonised standard, the UKCA mark must be accredited by a UK-based notified body. The UKCA mark (as for CE marks) should include the reference number of the issuing notified body which ensures full traceability. To avoid any potential for counterfeit UKCA marked product, always look for the notified body reference number.

Is the UKCA mark the same for Northern Ireland?

In order to promote freedom of movement of goods across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (which is in the EU), Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK. In Northern Ireland, construction products need to be compliant with the EU Construction Products Directive and carry a CE mark. This enables seamless movement of goods across the border. To prove compliance, goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland must carry the CE mark. It is also possible to prove compliance in Northern Ireland using a so-called CE UKNI mark, which is effectively a CE mark accredited by a UK notified body. The UKNI mark can only be used in Northern Ireland.

Since all relevant Tata Steel products carry both the UKCA and the CE mark, they can equally be sold and used in the UK, the EU and Northern Ireland without any additional certification.

For further information