CPA warns 'UK construction products won't be ready by 2025'

As the UKCA/CE Marking saga stumbles on, fixing industry bodies have warned the government that its latest changes will not avert problems down the line.

Earlier this month, the UK government announced it is extending recognition of CE marking for most goods on the market in Great Britain, indefinitely. That move nullified the need for UKCA marking – introduced after the UK opted to leave the EU – for a number of products, including toys, bicycles, machinery, etc. Several product categories were exempt from this, including rail products and construction products.

In response, manufacturers are urging the government to include building products in its decision to offer an indefinite extension of the European CE marking system for a panoply of manufactured goods.

They claim that delaying the deadline for the introduction of UK conformity assessed, UKCA, products by 18 months to 30 June 2025 is insufficient time.

Construction Products Association, CPA, chief executive Peter Caplehorn, said: "The last thing that is needed is to constrain product testing and certification to within these shores.

"It would take many decades and considerable investment to undertake all the necessary testing and certification solely in the UK, even if manufacturers could be persuaded to take part."

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake said: "By extending CE marking use across the UK, firms can focus their time and money on creating jobs and growing the economy."

Mr Caplehorn said that lack of clarity of the announcement had caused "enormous amounts of confusion and discussion" in the media.

UK testing regime introduction likely to cause supply chain delays

The National Federation of Builders, NFB, said the introduction of UKCA mark coincided with implementation of the future homes' standard to reduce carbon emissions of new homes by three quarters.

NFB housing and planning policy head Rico Wojtulewicz said: "Testing and capacity remain major challenges and therefore industry needs clarity and a clear direction of how the Government seeks to reform the UK's construction product regime."

Brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were concerned that UKCA could lead to supply chain delays leading to a further slump in new homes being built.

Recent National House Building Council data showed new homes registration fell by 42 per cent in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2022.

The department of levelling up, housing and communities, DLUHC, confirmed that the UK testing regime on construction products would go live on 30th June 2025.

"We are committed to ensuring the testing regime for construction products is effective and inspires public and market confidence," said a DLUHC spokesperson.

She said proposals for construction products testing reform would be released in due course. It's expected to embrace recommendations from the independent review of construction product testing.

Levelling up and housing secretary Michael Gove's statement on publication of the review in April 2023 pledged the new testing regime would be based on "high standards and complete transparency".

Mr Gove commissioned the review following findings of the Grenfell Tower inquiry where it was highlighted that those responsible for testing failed to adhere to proper procedures in conducting the assessment process. It also noted that manufacturers' performance claims for products were misleading and were not supported by the assessment process.

Previously, testing, inspection and certification house Warringtonfire warned businesses not to delay testing for UKCA certification.