Whitehall has announced plans to extend the use of current CE marks for another two years.
Business secretary Grant Shapps said that firms had been given extra time to apply for the new product standards marking, which will replace the EU equivalent.
The extension will allow UK firms to use either UK Conformity Assessed (UKCA) or CE markings for another two years instead of insisting on the new markings from January, following several appeals from construction industry leaders.
The government said the move will help businesses during a “difficult” economic climate.
BEIS said that, given the challenging economic conditions created by post-pandemic shifts in demand and supply, alongside the war in Ukraine and the associated high energy prices, the government does not want to burden business with the requirement to meet the latest deadline.
Earlier this month, construction leaders warned that the industry was not ready for the new quality mark. Industry leaders wrote to ministers calling for a two-year delay.
A joint letter from the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and Construction Products Association (CPA), sent to Shapps and housing secretary Michael Gove, said the UK had “not been able to scale up to meet the demands”.
Signed by CPA chief executive Peter Caplehorn and CLC co-chair Mark Reynolds, the letter said: “Not all products are affected but many of the most important to construction are, such as glues and sealants, glass, insulation, radiators and passive fire protection, to name a few, which are all necessary to deliver the new homes, schools and hospitals the country needs.”
The government will continue to recognise the CE marking for two years, therefore allowing businesses until 31 December 2024 to prepare for the UKCA marking. Businesses can also use the UKCA marking, giving them flexibility to choose which marking to apply.
Commenting on the announcement, Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturing trade body Make UK, said: “Industry will welcome this announcement, which recognises the simple fact that businesses in the UK and abroad are not ready for this change. If it had gone ahead as planned, then many overseas companies would have pulled the plug on supplying the UK market as a result.”
But he questioned why the change needed to be made in 2025, and said this would still only add costs and bureaucracy. “Instead, the UK should move to a longer-term system of mutual recognition on technical regulations and standards, particularly for CE marked products,” he added.
Shapps said: “The government is determined to remove barriers to businesses so they can get on with their top priorities, like providing quality customer service, enabling growth and supporting their staff.
“This move will give businesses the breathing space and flexibility they need at this crucial time and ensure that our future system for product safety marking is fit for purpose, providing the highest standard for consumers without harming businesses.