With the new UKCA Mark coming into force on 1st January 2021, the Furniture Industry Research Association has published a guide to support members in navigating the new complexities it brings. The guide, entitled UKCA & UKNI marking guidance: Great Britain and Northern Ireland Conformity Assessment Marks aims to demystify the new marks, although further details on some aspects of the marks are expected to play out next year as the Transition Period continues.

The new UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) mark is the new UK product marking that will be used for certain goods being placed on the market of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) when fully leaving the EU. Essentially it is a ‘replacement’ of the CE mark. However, it must be noted that Northern Ireland has adopted its own UKNI mark, full details of which are also addressed in the new guide.

Sections within the 36-page guide include: an explanation of the UKCA Mark, and the UKNI Mark; timeline requirements for the Great Britain mark, and the Northern Ireland mark; accepted markings for different markets; EU Notified Bodies and UK Approved Bodies; third-party conformity assessment and self-certification;

UK legislation governing UKCA - SI 2019:696 (The Product Safety and Metrology, etc (Amendment, etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019); validity of standards and test reports; UK Declaration of Conformity; manufacturers’ responsibilities in different scenarios; and UKCA and UKNI – how will it impact on 1st January 2021.

Author Bruce Lovell, consultant at FIRA International, says: “I think it’s fair to say that the new UKCA mark was certainly one of the more complicated subjects we’ve undertaken on behalf of the Furniture Industry Research Association. Whilst we have the majority of facts confirmed for the new marks, the ongoing status of the EU trade deal negotiations and the transition period leaves the furniture industry in a state of flux – with this in mind. a second (and possibly third) version of the guide will be published as information is released.

“It’s important to highlight that although the mark comes into force on 1st January 2021, for the majority of furniture manufacturers that use the ‘self-declaration’ route there is a 12-month ‘grace period’ for full adoption. Advice I am giving to my clients who are working through adopting the mark is not to wait – use those 12 months to review their technical files, including documentation such as instruction manuals, test reports and the standards used as proof of conformity to the regulations. 

“For manufacturers that use a notified body for third-party certification, it is a bit more complex, and we are advising those manufacturers in this position to speak to their notified body ASAP for advice if they have not already done so.”

The new guide is available to members of the Furniture Industry Research Association  as part of their membership benefits package via www.fira.co.uk/UKCA.