The Brexit working group of the Construction Leadership Council has published additional guidance for companies ahead of the expiration of the EU transition period on 31 December 2020. Its latest publications includes a new guide on the ‘Movement of Goods and Materials’ into and between Great Britain and Northern Ireland alongside a ‘Conformity Marking of Construction’ document.
The British Government has made clear that when the UK leaves the transition period with the European Union, it will also leave the EU Customs Union and begin its own custom regime as an independent trading state, whether a deal is or is not secured with the European Union.
The UK will therefore institute its own customs territory and UK businesses who import goods will need to prepare to comply with the new customs rules from 1 January 2021. The guide is broken down into nine sections for businesses to refer to over the coming months:
• Customs Regime – Importing Goods and Materials
• Trade in Goods and Materials between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
• Trade in Goods and Materials between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
• Tariffs and Tariff-Rate Quotas – The UK Global Tariff
• Standards and Alignment
• Preparedness of Border and Emergency Planning
• Shortage Materials and Stockpiling
• Useful Resources
• Further Information
John Newcomb, Builders Merchants Federation Chief Executive and cochair of the CLC Movement of Goods and Materials Workstream, said: “With many businesses focused on trading through the Covid-19 pandemic they may
have lost sight of the fact that the UK’s transition period with the EU ends on 31 December.
“We must all be prepared for new customs rules and other changes that come into effect from 1 January. Members of this working group also form the CLC’s Product Availability Group and the two areas are closely aligned. While the majority of construction products used in the UK are made here, almost a quarter (24%) are imported, with nearly two thirds (61%) of these coming from EU countries – just one reason why the whole building materials supply chain should engage with this guidance.”
The CLC Brexit working group has also published advice and information on the Conformity Marking of Construction Products after the expiration of the transition period. From 1 January 2021 there will be three different product marks that manufacturers, and others in the supply chain, may need to apply. The rules governing these marks will depend on where the product is intended to be used.
The three marks are:
• The EU’s marking for product conformity (CE marking)
• The United Kingdom Conformity Assessed mark (UKCA mark)
• The United Kingdom Northern Ireland mark (UK(NI) mark), which is additional to the CE marking in some instances.
Dependent on the regulations of each jurisdiction, a manufacturer may be required to use the services of a conformity assessment body to show their product meets the required criteria. The guide helps businesses plan for the changes by presenting several scenarios that explains which legislation will apply to products, what marking is needed and which conformity assessment body they may need to assess a product’s compliance before placing it on the relevant market.
Peter Caplehorn, Chief Executive of the Construction Products Association and Chair of the Standards and Alignment Workstream of the BREXIT Working Group, said: “We hope the guidance is of help to clarify the situation with regard to marking of products, especially as we transition from one system to another, this is complex, and
we have opted to use a tabulated format to explain the options.
“Especially with the options for Northern Ireland we have distilled the guidance down to the basics for ease of understanding. We also recognise that there are several areas still be worked on across this whole topic and some revision may be necessary in coming months.
“The group are also working on a number of further documents around information that supports the marks including testing, standards, certification processes, and organisations providing these or supporting manufacturers when placing products on the market. These will be made available in the forthcoming weeks.”
The two guides mentioned above are the third and fourth publications in an ongoing suite of business readiness advice that the group intends to publish ahead of 31 December 2020.