Brexit vs BC(A)R
Brexit versus BC(A)R, it’s the face-off nobody asked for! Following the end of the Brexit transition period on the 31st December 2020, the construction industry in Ireland and the rest of the EU has been left to deal with the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Since UK MPs voted in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on the 9th January 2020, the ORS assigned certifier team works closely with clients, contractors and design team members. The team advises them on the impacts of Brexit on building regulation compliance, helping them to mitigate against potential effects on compliance, programmes and budgets.
The main impact Brexit has on building regulation compliance is concerning CE marked construction products. Under Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 (known as the Construction Products Regulations 2013 or the “CPR 2013”), it is the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that products covered by a European Harmonised Standard are used on construction projects throughout the EU. They must have a CE mark from an EU registered certifying company referred to as a “notified body.”
From the 1st January 2021, all products that have been certified / CE marked by a UK certifying body are no longer compliant with the Construction Product Regulations.
Non-harmonised construction products (i.e. products that are not covered by European Harmonised Standards and are not required to be CE marked) rely on independent certification schemes by approved bodies to provide information on the product’s performance indicate it is suitable for its intended purpose. A member requires accreditation of the European cooperation for Accreditation (EA). UKAS is the sole National Accreditation Body in the UK. There is currently an agreement that UKAS will remain an EA Full Member until 31st January 2022 to certify non-harmonised products.
Currently, the Irish construction industry relies on a large percentage of construction products sourced in the UK. This poses a significant risk to contractors following the onset of Brexit due to the implications with Building Regulation compliance, supply chain logistics and increased costs.
The potential issues are not solely with products sourced from the UK. Some products are manufactured in Ireland and the rest of the EU, certified by the UK certifying companies, that are now no longer compliant with the Construction Products Regulations.
For these products to comply with the Construction Products Regulations, the manufacturer will have to transfer their certification from the UK certifying company to an EU notified body, such as the NSAI.
The Technical Guidance Documents refer to many technical specifications, codes of practice, and other documents, including British Standards. These documents are quoted to provide additional appropriate technical guidance to meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.
As quoted in the TGDs, these references will continue to apply to Buildings or Works that are subject to the Building Regulations and have not been impacted by Brexit.
Likewise, for contractors, sub-contractors and designers based in the UK, who are contracted to carry out works in Ireland, the relevant ancillary certification still applies, e.g. CIF 01, Sd certs, etc., and have not been impacted by Brexit.
During our review of documentation as Assigned Certifiers on a variety of different ongoing projects, we are noticing that a number of manufacturers of products that had previously been certified by a UK certifying company have already transferred their certification to an EU body. This process is also being helped by the fact that some of the UK certifying companies have now set up or are setting up in EU countries. Such companies include the Building Research Establishment (BRE) who have set up in Ireland and the British Standards Institution (BSI) who have located to the Netherlands. While the process is ongoing, there are inevitably going to be manufacturers who are behind on this process and will not have the required certification in place to comply with the Construction Products Regulations.
There is a risk of products being used on site that are no longer compliant. Builders should be carrying out a thorough analysis of their supply chain to ensure that they are procuring products that comply with the Construction Products Regulations.
If you would like to learn more about what the ORS Assigned Certifier Team can add to your project, please contact us today.