End the Confusion: UK Must Back CE Mark on Timber Products

The construction industry is the only industry where the UK government has not pledged to support CE conformity marketings.

Tue 11 Jun 24


The UK building and construction industry is in the dark about conformity markings, with time running out for the government to replace “CE” markings with its homegrown UK Conformity Assured UKCA—a new label that was pledged to be established in the wake of Brexit.

That is according to Timber Development UK (TDUK), the country’s peak body for the timber supply chain. Instead, the TDUK is now urging the next government, whether Conservative, Labour or in Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, to take decisive steps on CE markings on construction products and “pledge that they will be recognised indefinitely in the UK, in line with all other CE-marked products.”

The UKCA marking is a new UK product marking replacing CE Marking for placing goods on the market in the UK. In this informative video, BSI guides you through the key changes and preparation tips to ensure compliance. Footage courtesy of @BritishStandardsInstitution.

Introduced in 1985, CE is the manufacturer’s declaration that products comply with European health, safety and environmental protection standards. It is, however, not a quality indicator or certification mark but required for goods sold into the European Economic Area – otherwise known as the single market.

Now, less than four weeks out from the UK’s snap election, scheduled for July 4, the TDUK is pushing for the incumbent Rishi Sunak Conservative Government and the heavily favoured Labour Opposition, led by Keir Starmer, to eliminate uncertainty over the future of CE and reverse track.

The current government has stated that “our intention is to end recognition of the CE mark in GB on June 30 2025. Current rules, which allow for continued recognition of the CE mark, will remain in place until legislation is laid to end recognition of the CE mark,” according to a trade note published by the TDUK last week. “However, there has been no consultation or draft legislation published to meet the 2025 target to end recognition of the marking.”

TDUK’s message to the newly formed government is as follows:

According to the TDUK, the decision to recognise CE-marked products indefinitely, in line with recent announcements on all other CE-marked products, is the most straightforward route, providing market access and supporting the existing UK/EU trade agreement.

“It will also free the resources of Government and industry to concentrate on developing a UK construction product safety system that supports UK construction, rather than simply overseeing products being placed on the market,” the TDUK said.

In addition, it would address concerns that the UKCA would unnecessarily create red tape and extra compliance costs, a point stressed by Peter Caplehorn, the CEO of the Construction Products Association in 2022:

“With the longer term in mind, we must also ask government ministers to re-consider the usefulness of the CA Mark policy and whether a more reasonable, practical solution exists to help achieve the right aims but avoid further and unnecessary loss of time, money and resources,” he said. Adding that “this continues to have a significant impact on investment, innovation, and growth of the sector.”

Last week Sunak and Starmer went head to head in the first leaders debate. Footage courtesy of @gmb.

According to the most recent BBC poll, the Labour Party remains the overwhelming favourite to secure government for the first time since 2007 over the four-time incumbent Conservative government.

With 44% of the primary vote, they currently lead the Conservatives (22%), the Reform (13%), the Liberal Democrats (10%), the Green Party (6%) and the Scottish National Party (3%). At the last election in 2019, the Boris Johnson-led Conservatives secured 43.8% of the vote, ahead of the Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party (32.1%), the Liberal Democrats (11.6%) and Scottish National Party (3.9%).


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