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CE marking: what it means for SMEs

From 1 July, construction products on the UK market must be accompanied by a Declaration of Performance and will need to have CE marking.

This will have a positive impact on the construction industry both in the UK and across Europe, helping to guard against product misinformation.

CE marking mostly impacts on manufacturers and distributors in the supply chain.

Manufacturers need to make sure that a construction product is consistent with its DoP to enable it to be placed legally on the market in any EU member state. They must retain technical documentation for 10 years and maintain conformity after storage and distribution.

Importers and distributors have to take responsibility, too, for checking manufacturer compliance. This applies to all construction products and equipment, except where it is not powered or used to lift, such as hand tools, racking and ladders.

CE marking ensures the right steps are taken with regards to assessing risks presented by a product throughout its lifecycle, complying with best practice, ensuring the product’s conformity with relevant product safety law – which in most cases must accompany the product down the supply chain to the end-user.

No guarantee

It is worth noting, however, that despite these obvious benefits the CE mark is not a quality mark, nor a guarantee that the product meets all of the requirements of relevant EU product safety law. 

While CE certification is generated by the company marketing the product or material, the DoP and CE certificates do not prove the product is actually fit for purpose. They are only a declaration of values.

As suppliers, it is our responsibility to assess this information in relation to the contract requirements and relevant standards when preparing the design for the intended application of stonework.

Critically, CE marking will bring transparency and provide peace of mind for contractors that products have certain characteristics and will perform to a certain standard.

With SMEs making up the bulk of manufacturers, distributors and suppliers for construction products, it levels the playing field, removing the uncertainty that currently exists in the construction process.

With government chief construction advisor Peter Hansford’s promise to place SMEs at the heart of Construction 2025, initiatives such as CE marking will help fight rogue traders and ensure consistency across Europe.

Mark Walden is design manager at Szerelmey

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