Speaking to a variety of sources, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Fire Industry Association (FIA), British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and the European Fire and Security Group (EFSG), Hunter Seymour assesses the impact of the new UKCA marking scheme – replacing CE marking in the UK following Brexit – on the fire and security sectors. (Image credit to IFSEC Global)The article’s author, journalist Hunter Seymour asked our CEO Carl Hunter OBE to comment:
“Coltraco exports 89% of our manufactured output to 120 countries. UKCA is a national opportunity to restore global leadership in health, safety, and environmental protection standards from a distinguished era that has now passed. Since then, the CE mark has become perfunctory and a far distance from the aim of any great British manufacturer, which is customarily determined to design, manufacture, certify and export high efficiency quality finished goods, fit to function because they have safety, health, and environmental criteria at their heart.
“We face the reality that the global marketplace is a harsh one, and without the basis of CE will not succeed, so the UKCA mark has the opportunity to exceed the standards of CE, in the same way that the UK Kitemark achieved its undoubted superior status.
“There is every reason why UK manufacturers should surely design their goods with UKCA and CE in mind, and any other international certification that enhances their export success, as part of their will to succeed, in every country comprising their respective domestic and export markets. The cost to certify to meet CE by an EU recognised notified authority would be fractional and no different from what overseas manufacturers, from Japan to the USA, have to do in any case to export to the EU. At the very least, UK exporters to EU customers will have to satisfy the product standards within the EU, as UK exporters already satisfy national standards to reach any non-EU export market. So, they will have to maintain the standards that generate the CE mark to service EU export opportunities.
“UK manufacturers resisting change to UKCA under UK law risk breaking their own laws, which would be pointless and improbable, and they would do far better to place greater attention on their duty to innovate, export and excel. This country defined ’better’ long before we diluted it through CE. The Kitemark was a UK product and service quality trademark which was owned and operated by the British Standards Institution (BSI Group). The Kitemark was most frequently used to identify products where safety is paramount, but its use with UKCA could combine into something that becomes globally recognised as symbolising British excellence. Such a dual concept should be actively pursued.”To summarise: Businesses are encouraged to be ready for full implementation of the new UK regime as soon as possible after 1 January 2021. Even accepting that there is a one-year period where both the UKCA or CE mark will be accepted for products shipped before 1 January 2021, businesses must start planning for the time when the UKCA mark will entirely replace the CE mark at the end of 2021. [sic] The new marking process means that any product intended for both the UK and EU markets will require two DoC (Declaration of Conformity) documents, listing each set of standards, British and EU.