The government responds to the FIA on the new UKCA mark
On 24th November 2020, the FIA sent their second letter jointly with BSIA to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) relaying their respective industry's concerns on the impact of the implementation of the new UKCA mark. In late December, they received a response from Paul Scully MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
In their letter, they requested that ‘should a reciprocal agreement not be acceptable, the specified 12 months’ timeline be extended to a minimum of 36 months to allow sufficient time for manufacturers to prepare and apply the UKCA mark. Unfortunately, for the fire industry, the Government ignored this request on two separate occasions.
They believe exceptions should be made for fire and security products given that exceptions have been granted for medical devices – as all are focussed on life safety. The resulting impacts that the UKCA regime can and will have on life safety systems are worrying. For instance, lack of spare parts to maintain current fire safety systems correctly could affect thousands of hospitals, schools and care homes to name but a few.
Government has stressed that ‘we cannot indefinitely accept EU certification and CE marked goods on the market in Great Britain on a non-reciprocal basis beyond the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020’ and accepts that ‘transitioning to the new UK regime will require planning and will result in some costs to businesses’. The FIA believes that these costs will be extensive and potentially damaging for a number of businesses and the practicality of transitioning to the UKCA regime for all fire safety products within the given 12-month period is unachievable.
Through this unprecedented period, the FIA will continue to represent the needs of the industry to government. It is imperative that the Government understands the impact that changing to the UKCA regime will have not only for businesses from the fire industry whose task it is to keep buildings safe; but also for the thousands of business owners that rely on their buildings being compliant so that they can remain open.