GAR Update - Part 2 - Maintaining conformity during the transition process
In my last post (GAR Update – Part 1 – Key changes and what does this mean for manufacturers and retailers) I covered many of the changes to scope and definitions included in the new Gas Appliances Regulation. Following on from that I am now going to discuss the other larger changes in more detail. Hopefully this will give greater insight into the issues which may affect you in maintaining continuity of conformity in the transition process.
The first major issue that I will discuss is the transition period between the GAD and the GAR. Historically when major changes have been introduced to legislation or standards there is a period of time allowed that gives manufacturers (or whoever) a set time to make the required change.
Unfortunately the text of the gas appliances regulation failed to include such a period before it was formally published (whoops!) which means that there is effectively a hard stop date of the 21st April 2018 where products must be certified to the new GAR or they cannot be introduced onto the union market. The other challenge with this is that as the GAR does not officially become law until that date no certificates to the new regulation can be issued until that point. My advice on this is that you must be prepared for the change and to start reviewing your product portfolio now. The only small allowance in this requirement is that products placed into the supply chain, which effectively means manufactured and in your warehouse, can still be sold under the previous GAD certification.
Another fairly major change is that the new EU Type Examination Certificates, issued under the GAR requirements, now have a maximum validity period of ten years from the date of issue. At the end of this ten year validity period an assessment will need to be carried out, by the notified body, to ensure that the products listed on the certificate are still representative of those originally examined to type. Ten years is a long time in a product lifecycle so I suspect many products will have been withdrawn from sale long before that ten year expiry becomes an issue but it will be an interesting one to watch out for come 2028!
During this period it is thought that normal changes that come about in a products life (changes of components for example) can be dealt with as currently happens without affecting this validity period but one thing that will need reviewing on an on-going basis and is written in the official text is something known as changes to “state of the art”. In most cases this will mean changes to harmonised standards and the requirements within those standards which affect the on-going conformity of your product. This effectively means that to certify your product and not revisit any consequences of standards changes will not be acceptable and products cannot be subject to the “grandfather principle”
In the next segment of this blog I will discuss some of the changes to the essential requirements and how they may affect you.
Author: Greg Childs
Certification Team Manager