Brexit and no end: What entrepreneurs have to pay attention to since January 1, 2021

Not only is Britain’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) fraught with many uncertainties at political level, many entrepreneurs in Thuringia have also waited for clear answers about numerous questions concerning conformity assessments and certifications for years:

  • Can companies based in the EU continue to export their products with CE marking into the economic area of the United Kingdom after January 1, 2021?

  • Will conformity assessments and certificates issued by notified bodies in Britain keep their validity in the EU after January 1, 2021 or is their re-certification required?
  • Will CE conformity assessments issued by notified bodies of the EU still be accepted for the export to Britain after January 1, 2021?
  • Under what conditions can products from Britain continue to be marketed in the EU?
  • What meaning does the new UKCA sign have and what is it required for – or also, what is it not required for?
  • What does the legislator understand under “old approach and new approach products” and how do I see, in which category my products fall?
  • What special regulations apply to the export to Northern Ireland?
  • What special regulations apply to the import of products from Northern Ireland?

You will receive competent answers to all these questions concerning conformity assessments in connection with the Brexit from the experts of TÜV Thüringen e.V. Central contacts for product certifications are Mr. Harald Prokopp and, for further conformity assessment and certification subjects, Mr. Raoul Michel.

Guideline about the Brexit and the activities of the notified body for pressure equipment of TÜV Thüringen e.V.

1. Do consequences exist for the conformity assessment of products after the Brexit?

Unfortunately, yes. The hitherto so successful model of the free movement of goods within Europe does no longer exist for Great Britain after the country’s exit from the EU.

2.  Are manufacturers of machinery and apparatuses now faced with entirely new requirements when exporting goods to Britain?

Luckily not yet. Each European member state was forced to transpose the European directives into national law. This has been done in Britain with the „Pressure Equipment Regulation“ (PER), to name just one example. The PER is an almost 1:1 equivalent of the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).

3. The CE sign will therefore continue to be recognized in Britain?

Unfortunately, only up to the end of 2021. The date of marketing becomes relevant in this case. Even if the material requirements are similar, they are no longer identical. Britain has now the status of a third country and has set up its own procedures for this purpose. Hence, instead of the CE marking a UKCA marking will be required from January 1, 2022.

4. Can then European notified bodies continue carrying out conformity assessments for specific products?

No. Only bodies recognized by UKAS, the British accreditation authority, will be allowed to do it. Most of the European notified bodies are not recognized in this respect. On the other way round, former British notified bodies are no longer allowed to carry out CE conformity assessments, either.

5. Can TÜV Thüringen e.V. offer its clients a solution?

Yes, absolutely. TÜV Thüringen e.V. cooperates with its partner organization HPi-CEproof in the field of the PER (i.e. the British Pressure Equipment Regulation). Further fields of cooperation are in the pipeline and will be added depending on the market needs. With TÜV Thüringen e.V. you thus have a reliable partner on your side that can cover almost the entire international requirements concerning test and certification services for pressure equipment.

6. How will customer inquiries concerning UKCA certification orders be dealt with and processed?

Everything will be done through the offices of TÜV Thüringen e.V and your local contact you know. We have adapted our internal processes accordingly and will provide flanking support during the application procedure.

7. How will existing material certificates be treated which have been issued according to the PED?

They will be accepted until the end of 2021. From January 1, 2022 onwards, the QS system of the material manufacturer must be certified according to the British PER or a 3.2 certification will be issued for the material, if no PER QS system assessment is available.

8. How will individual expert opinions on materials (PMA) be treated in the future?

As before, draft PMA are to be checked by the notified body, in this case by HPi. This will be done with every draft and specifically for the application concerned. We do not expect any additional difficulties in this respect.

9. How will existing welder examinations (welder qualification tests) be treated that have been passed according to PED?

All products must conform to the PER from January 1, 2022 onwards, which concerns the joining processes with the personal qualifications as well. The certification of welding and joining personnel pursuant to Directive 2014/68/EU, Annex I, No. 3.1.2, will be sufficient for products that have been manufactured by December 31, 2021 and the production of which can be traced by a documentation. Welders must then be certified pursuant to the PER for all products manufactured thereafter, although the normative basis, usually ISO 9606, is the same. It is, however, important that welders need to apply for the certification pursuant to the PER from this point in time onwards, i.e. apart from the scope of validity of the Pressure Equipment Directive. The certification will then be carried out parallel in accordance with the PER.

10. How will existing procedure tests and qualifications be treated?

The same requirements as described in section 8 above will apply to the certification of joining processes.

11. How will reports about non-destructive tests (zfP) and the relevant personnel qualifications pursuant to the PED be treated?

They must conform to the PER from January 1, 2022 onwards. TÜV Thüringen e.V. can establish the relevant contacts with the accredited bodies in the UK. The procedure will be carried out in the same way as described in section 8 hereof.

12. How will existing type approvals pursuant to the PED be re-assessed pursuant to the PER?

The type approvals will be „re-assessed“ at the manufacturer’s request and have to be adapted to the PER in this respect. The type approval must be applied for pursuant to the PER. Do not hesitate to get in touch with TÜV Thüringen e.V., we shall be pleased to support you in this process.

13. Will certain particularities have to be observed as regards Q modules?

Here again, the same requirements will apply as already described in section 8 above. It is possible to get a double certification with CE and UKCA. The certification will thus be carried out on the basis of the same assessment/audition.

14. Which set of design rules can be applied in accordance with the PER?

The same requirements of the set of rules under the PED apply to the set of rules under the PER. All set of rules are basically applicable, as long as they conform to the fundamental safety requirements of the PER. Sets of rules harmonized with the PED (e.g. EN standards) as well as sets of rules adapted to the PED, e.g. AD 2000, can therefore be applied without any problems. TÜV Thüringen e.V. has far-reaching experience with the application of the ASME BPV code under the PED which applies, of course, to the scope of the PER as well.

15. Will therefore the harmonized standards for materials (EN 10028 etc.) and products, such as EN 13445, continue to be valid in Britain?

Yes, Britain contributed intensively to the work in the European standardization bodies in the past, so that these harmonized standards and sets of rules largely constitute nowadays the state of the art in the United Kingdom.

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