The New UKCA Mark: An Ultimate Guide
You may, or may not, be aware that certain products on the market in England, Scotland and Wales will soon be required to carry the new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) mark.
Prior to Brexit, most of these products would have carried the CE marking, which was obligatory under European legislation, referred to as ‘new approach’ goods.
Not to be confused with a social club in Cyprus or the UK’s cheerleading association, the UKCA mark actually came into force on 1 January 2021 – a fact that many businesses and agencies across the UK were not aware of.
We mentioned it fleetingly in our packaging industry trends blog, the CE marking will continue to be recognised in the UK until the end of this year to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements.
Providing there are no delays, however, from January 2023 only products with the UKCA logo will be accepted in Great Britain. Get it circled in your calendars!
What is the UKCA mark and what do you need to know? We’ve got you covered below…
The purpose of the UKCA mark
Let’s start with the important stuff. Why is the UKCA mark important?
Just as the CE mark did, the new UKCA mark is a guarantee to the consumer that a product can be used safely, with the manufacturer having met all applicable and designated standards, relevant environmental legislation and health and safety regulations.
The reality is that the UKCA is almost identical to the CE marking but for a few minor differences that don’t really matter to the majority of components and machinery.
Products requiring the UKCA mark
Next, you will probably be interested whether or not the product you are supplying falls under the UKCA mark.
Lucky for you, we have the full list of products and elements covered by UKCA legislation include (but not exhaustive):
- Aerosols (new addition)
- Electromagnetic compatibility
- Equipment for use outdoors
- Gas appliances
- Low voltage electrical equipment
- Measuring instruments
- Non-automatic weighing instruments
- Personal protective equipment
- Pressure equipment
- Radio equipment
- Recreational craft and personal watercraft
- Restriction of hazardous substances
- Simple pressure vessels
- Toy safety
Like the CE mark, this is important information so technical documentation relating to UKCA certification must be recorded carefully and retained for a minimum of 10 years. Who knows when they’re going to be required or when they will be requested, so do the sensible thing and keep them readily available.
Marks for the EU and Northern Ireland
We don’t mean to muddy matters but the introduction of the UKCA mark does not mean the CE mark is redundant.
As the UKCA mark is not legally recognised in EU27 countries, products intended for sale in the EU will require a CE mark.
Neither can the UKCA mark alone be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, where CE marking will continue to be recognised.
If a product has been certified by an EU body, the CE mark is all that’s needed for the Northern Ireland market. However, if a product has undergone mandatory third-party assessment by an approved UK body, the CE Mark must be accompanied by a new UKNI mark, which must never be used in isolation.
Existing stock with a CE mark
Right, let’s talk about your existing stock and what bracket they fall under.
It is definitely worth knowing that the new UKCA legislation does not apply to existing manufactured goods which were fully manufactured, CE marked and ready to place on the market before 1 January 2021.
If this is the case, your goods can still be sold in England, Scotland and Wales with a CE mark.
The above also applies even if the goods are covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body, just as long as this was done before 1 January 2021.
However, goods such as these will need to be placed on the market before 31 December 2022, prior to the UKCA mark coming into force in January.
Applying for UKCA certification
Ok, so now you know all about it, now you need to know how to get it.
In order to obtain UKCA certification a UK Declaration of Conformity will need to be drawn up, which will, largely, be the same as the declaration previously required by the EU.
To acquire this document, manufacturers or, if permitted, authorised representatives, must be able to provide certain information for inspection if asked to do so by market surveillance authorities. Most of the information required will be identical to that needed for the preceding EU Declaration of Conformity.
It’s worth pointing out that there are certain conditions where self-declaration for conformity for UKCA marking is possible.
Generally speaking, these conditions are, again, the same as for CE marking. So, if a manufacturer was allowed to self-declare conformity for the CE marking, they should also be allowed to do the equivalent for the UKCA mark.
When it comes to certification for work machinery, this procedure can be undertaken by a manufacturer, as long as they have access to appropriate engineering expertise. However, many manufacturers choose to use the services of a consultant.
For certain types of machinery, including a lot of pressure equipment, the majority of lifts and all gas appliances, the services of a conformity assessment body is obligatory.
These bodies provide certificates of adequacy or conformance, following which UKCA marking can be applied for and the required Declaration of Conformity issued, referencing the name and address of the approved body, along with their unique identifier.
Placement of the UKCA mark
In most instances, the actual UKCA marking must be applied to the product itself that you’re selling or the packaging which surrounds it.
If this isn’t possible, there are certain circumstances where the mark can be placed on the product manual or supporting literature. However, this will depend on the specific rules which apply to the product.
When affixing the UKCA marking to a product, it must also be easy to see and read. Other markings which may affect the meaning, legibility or visibility of the mark must not be affixed to the product.
When it comes to placement, this can only be done by the product manufacturer. Where allowed by the appropriate legislation, it can also be undertaken by an authorised representative.
UKCA logo graphics
We’re now really getting into finer details of this guide, but, nevertheless, it is still important information for you to know.
There are a number of conditions related to the graphic elements of the mark that need to be considered. These include:
- The UKCA logo must be at a minimum height of 5mm, unless appropriate product legislation allows for a different minimum.
- If allowed by the appropriate product legislation, the mark can be reduced or enlarged, but the individual letters must always remain in proportion.
- The form the UKCA mark takes can be altered. For instance, instead of a solid fill, outline lettering can be used. However, it must still be legible, visible and in the correct proportion.
Continuing use of the CE mark
Instituted in 1985, the CE (Conformitè Europëenne) mark is a manufacturer’s declaration that a product abides by the EU’s New Approach Directives.
As we have already mentioned, the CE mark will continue to be valid in Great Britain until the end of 2022. However, if the EU decides to change the current CE rules, and products are labelled with the CE mark based on the revised rules, they cannot be sold in the UK.
This stipulation applies even before the CE mark becomes invalid on 31 December 2022.
If a product has been assessed for conformity by a notified body in the UK, CE marking will no longer be valid. To maintain CE mark status, products will need third-party assessment with a notified body registered in a member state of EU27.
Although not widely publicised, UKCA marking is a packaging trend that will need to be addressed during the next year, before legislation comes into force in January 2023.
While UKCA marking is almost identical to the CE marking, apart from a few small differences, there are issues which do need to be addressed, depending on the current state of your business and your needs when it comes to future market access.
We hope you found this UKCA mark guide useful and if you would like any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.