The construction industry has been warned that plans are in place to introduce a post-Brexit UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) safety and quality mark, which will cause shortages of vital building products, materials and potentially damage the Government’s agenda. 

The UKCA is a British equivalent to the European Union’s CE safety mark scheme, in which manufacturers must obtain safety certifications before they place products on the single market. 

A letter sent to Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary from Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council stated that there are industry concerns about the scheme, designed to assert the UK’s independence after leaving the European Union. 

Despite the full introduction of the UKCA mark being delayed by 12 months to 1st January 2023, a warning came to the CLC stating that the industry simply wasn’t ready. It was added that there has been a limited or zero capacity for several basic products that are to be tested in line with the UK Construction Product Regulations. Such items listed were radiators, glass, glues and sealants amongst others. 

There is a large European network of testing facilities for the CE mark, but since Brexit, the UK no longer recognise these, meaning everything has to be re-tested by the national accreditation body for the United Kingdom. 

The CLC said, “If the current situation prevails, these products will not be available on the UK market after the January 2023 deadline.” A significant expansion of facilities that can issue UKCA certificates was called for. 

As radiators were listed, the CLC highlighted that this could therefore delay the construction of over 150,000 homes per year, in turn, postponing the switch to low carbon heating, which is a key part of the Government’s aim to reach net zero by 2050. 

A Letter About Post-Brexit

Andy Mitchell said, “The consequences are clearly damaging, not only to the UK construction sector, but also to the Government’s ambitions around the housebuilding infrastructure, building safety and net zero in the built environment.” 

The letter concluded to say, “there are steps that can be taken to mitigate these risks, but action is needed now. The extension of the deadline is January 2023 is not sufficient to prevent significant disruption.” 

It is to be said that the business department are now working to boost the test capacity in certain sectors and are considering how to support the expansion of the texting industry. 

How does this affect PIER (UK)? 

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