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UKCA marking: prepare your product documentation for a no-deal Brexit

With the Brexit story developing at a mind-bending pace, and business prospects dynamically changing, we’re all looking forward to any signs of regulatory stability.

One of those signs is the new UKCA marking. Read on to find out what it is and if your products need it.

What is the UKCA marking?

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new product certification marking that will be used for certain types of goods placed on the UK market, in case of a no-deal Brexit.

If a no-deal Brexit happens, the CE (Conformité Européenne) marking currently used in the European Union will only be accepted in the UK for a limited period of time (as of now, we don’t know for how long). However, for some goods, the UKCA marking will need to be applied immediately after a no-deal Brexit.

The UKCA marking will not be recognised in the European Union.

See the website for the latest details.

Will my product need the UKCA mark labels?

If your products currently require the CE marking, and if you want to continue selling them on the UK market after a no-deal Brexit, it’s more than likely that you’ll need to obtain the UKCA marking for them.

As a rough guide, goods that will need the UKCA marking will meet all of the following three conditions:

  • They are for the UK market
  • They require mandatory third-party conformity assessment
  • Their conformity assessment has been carried out by a UK conformity assessment body

The exact regulations you need to meet depend on your business sector and product type. For more details, see this page.

UKCA marking and technical documentation

To sell your products in the UK, merely obtaining the UKCA mark labels are not enough. You will also need to consider your technical documentation.

For each of your products, the technical documentation must demonstrate that the product meets the regulatory requirements. You need to keep the documentation for up to 10 years after the product first enters the UK market.

 During those 10 years, the product documentation can be requested at any time by market surveillance authorities, to verify your product’s conformity with the applicable requirements. 

So what should your product documentation consist of? This depends on the specific legislation related to the particular type of product. However, you should always ensure there is documentation that covers the following:

  • The product design and manufacturing process
  • The process of declaring the product’s conformity with the relevant requirements
  • The address of the manufacturer and storage facilities

Your technical documentation should always be “in the form of a technical file which can be requested by a market surveillance authority”.

EU, US and UK technical documentation standards

Do the new UKCA requirements mean that you need to completely re-design your product’s technical documentation? Well, it largely depends on your current documentation quality.

If your product documentation is compliant with the current EU regulations, chances are that you won’t need to make any major changes. As the documentation standards in the USA are not drastically different from EU ones, the same may apply to products certified in the USA.

To get more information on the EU documentation standards and regulations, check our dedicated 3di blog post.

To read more about the US documentation standards and regulations, check another 3di blog post.

Good documentation vs regulations and UKCA mark after Brexit

Be it the EU, the USA or the UK, regulations are there to make our lives safer and easier. In the case of technical documentation, it means that most documentation standards and regulations share similar, good-practice technical communication values, such as:

  • Consistent terminology
  • Document versioning
  • Persistent, easy-to-find warnings and cautions
  • Easy-to-read text
  • A well-explained guide on how to properly use the product

Of course, Brexit or no Brexit, there will always be some disparities between compliance systems. But, if your existing documentation is well written already, chances are you’ll only need to polish a few details.

If you need assistance with your product documentation, talk to 3di and see if we can help!

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3di has delivered award-winning technical writing, translation and localization services to global companies and technology businesses since 2002. Our in-house team of 35 is based in our offices in Woking, Krakow and Edinburgh: our own multi-lingual project managers, technical authors, localization engineers and tools experts.View Author posts

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