• Hello From Descent

    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

    New Descent board here:

UKCA Equipment Marking

Mark Wright

Member
There hasn?t been much in the news about the new UKCA marking which will be required for all previously CE marked products being sold into the UK market.

This is causing considerable debate between EU climbing equipment manufacturers who will likely have to have each of their products tested by a UKCA test house in the UK every year as well as having to test in accordance with the requirements of their CE status.

The big EU players, selling a lot of product into the UK market, will have to jump through the necessary hoops but I fear the smaller manufacturers, selling a small number of niche products into an already niche market place, in particular caving, may not bother. Having products tested annually just for the UK market doesn?t come cheep.

I don?t know the ins and outs of it all but it could mean, e.g. Scurion and Rude Nora have to have their range of CE marked batteries tested annualy in accordance with the requirements of both CE and UKCA if they want sell them everywhere.

Having the UKCA mark alone would not allow a UK company to sell into the NI market. To do that they would also need either a CE mark or the new UKNI marking.

UKCA marking is not, or indeed ever likely to be, accepted in the EU as an alternative to CE marking.

Companies are currently on a grace period for compliance but the new markings will be required from 1st January 2022.

Maybe Nick Williams can enlighten us on the possible ramifications and maybe sell some shares in his company? 

I can?t imagine anything other than having much less choice and what limited choice we do have will be considerably more expensive.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-ukca-marking

Welcome to the Brexit.

Mark
 

ChrisJC

Well-known member
At present, as I understand it, the testing requirements are the same for both.
And CE is a self certification scheme, as is UKCA.

So just stick both on there.

It is when the standards diverge that it will get interesting.

Chris.
 

Eds

New member
Only certain products are self certification. Others, such as harnesses and karabiners require independent approval.
If you had your CE marking done by a UK body you should be able to add UKCA relatively easily (and cheaply). If you didn't then it's going to be more costly.
 

nickwilliams

Active member
I don't normally think it's appropriate to promote my business on here but on this occasion I'm going to save myself a lot of typing and point people to the UKCA pages and FAQ on our website at www.conformance.co.uk if they want general information on this topic.

Specifically with reference to caving gear, I'm sure Mark is right (see what I did there...) and we will see a reduction in the variety of gear available to us in the UK, but I'm optimistic that it's not going to be a complete disaster. For gear which requires the intervention of a Notified Body (i.e. rope and associated gear) most of the major certification bodies will have a presence both in the EU and in the UK so issuing dual certificates for the two markets should just be an administrative exercise. Sure they will charge for it, but I would expect the costs to be in the low hundreds of pounds for a certificate which lasts 5 years and covers multiple products so long as they are broadly similar. The bigger problem will be whether they (the certification bodies) will be able to generate enough business in the UK to make it worth their while paying for the annual audit and other upkeep costs they will have to pay to continue to maintain a presence in the UK market.

In due course, I am sure there will be a mutual recognition agreement between the UK and the EU which will allow bodies based in one market to issue certificates for the other, and vice versa. Right now, however, most of the organisations which were formerly EU Notified Bodies in the UK have spent quite a bit of time, trouble and cash setting up operations in an EU country so they can continue to service the CE marking market. The last thing they want right now is for an MRA to come along and make that investment completely redundant!

For electronic products such as lamps, there is no need for independent certification so (for the moment at least, while the standards remain the same in the UK and the EU) it's trivially simple to apply both the CE mark and the UKCA mark. I think the VAT changes and Brexit customs uncertainty are far bigger barriers to small companies in those market sectors.

A final thought is to point out that personal imports by private individuals should be exempt from having to comply with these rules so it should be possible to buy individual items of equipment direct from non-UK vendors even if they do not carry the UKCA mark.

It remains to be seen how well UK customs will understand and interpret these rules. My gut feeling is that for single shipments to private individuals they are mainly going to be interested in making sure VAT and duty are paid rather than worrying about safety related markings.

 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Strange how we managed to go caving quite happily, with whatever gear we could lay our hands on, before all this bureaucracy was invented.

Thank you Brexit (not).
 

tamarmole

Member
Personally I think this a magnificent situation.  It demonstrates that, whatever the inconvenience, we are in charge of our own destiny.  Increasing prices and a reduction in choice is a small price to pay for the freedom from the tyranny of EU sanctioned certification.  That's one in the eye for the euro commies.
 

MarkS

Moderator
nickwilliams said:
A final thought is to point out that personal imports by private individuals should be exempt from having to comply with these rules so it should be possible to buy individual items of equipment direct from non-UK vendors even if they do not carry the UKCA mark.

That sounds OK for consumers, but less good for the small UK caving gear retailers. :(
 
Top