LAST WORD: The CE timebomb

13 Aug, 14

Managing director of Roman says comply with CE mark else face a fine or prison time

It’s more than 12 months since the CE marking standard became compulsory for all construction products on July 1, 2013 and there are clearly still a lot of non-compliant products in the UK bathroom market. The CE mark indicates that a product complies with EU regulation, but it is a self-certification scheme and it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure their products conform to the specific regulations. Roman’s products have been tested to comply and they have carried the CE mark since February 2013. The BMA is set to lobby government over the non-policing of the CE Mark.

Keep to standard

The key standard to look out for to ensure a shower enclosure conforms is BS EN14428:2008+A1, which tests for functional requirements. This then ensures shower enclosures meet the EU Construction Products Regulation, and can legitimately carry the CE mark. This is the most critical change to legislation, for a long time, for retailers, housebuilders, merchants and specifiers to be aware of. Manufacturers have the responsibility to ensure their enclosures conform to the standard, but the final reseller of the products (retailers, housebuilders, merchants) also have a responsibility to ensure the products they stock, or are specifying, also conform to the Standard.

Resellers face fines

However, there are still many non-compliant products out there and there are huge consequences for the seller of the non-compliant product. Large fines and imprisonment can be the ultimate result for knowingly selling non-conforming products. So it is strongly urged all retailers and merchants ask the right questions around CE marking of all their suppliers.

Trading Standards is the enforcement body for England, Wales and Scotland. The Environmental Health Authority covers Northern Ireland. They have been tasked with appropriate market surveillance. The ultimate enforcement authority across the UK is the Secretary of State. Any non-compliance will be transmitted across Europe. Failure to comply with any aspect of the Construction Products Regulation can lead to; enforcement of appropriate corrective actions to manufacturer or supplier, recall or withdrawal of product from the market, Pan European communication of the above and fines start from £5,000 per incident or up to 3 months imprisonment. Fines apply to the final reseller or manufacturer as appropriate in each case.

Look for CE mark

To check whether the product carries the CE mark is relatively straightforward as manufacturers must make the declaration of performance available to their customers. Roman has the CE marking in its literature, individual product instruction manuals and on its website. In line with the standard, Roman also displays its CE documents for each product on their website, so customers can have quick and easy access to this information.

There are already 2014 updates for CE marking for manufacturers, which includes production audits in addition to CE testing to prove ongoing compliance. We are quite alarmed at how much non-compliant product is still in the bathroom market place 12 months on. Clearly some people will be slow to change but we have been keen to stress this is a mandatory legal requirement with enforcement. Two of the common misconceptions are that it is something the manufacturers would resolve if there was a problem; and secondly saying that you conform is one thing but proving you conform is actually what CE marking is all about.