A Q&A with AGA Rangemaster on UKCA certification
We spoke to David Reynold, Technical Director for AGA Rangemaster and asked him about their experience in achieving UKCA certification. For more info on UKCA certification, please click here.
Please note: These answers have been given directly by David and not edited by BSI.
How did AGA Rangemaster find the process of achieving the UKCA mark?
For the most part, the certification for the UKCA mark was really more of a formality based upon the required CE approvals that we already carry for our products. We have a really strong working relationship with BSI, going back many years, and we knew that BSI was one of the first test houses to obtain Approved Body status and able to apply the UKCA mark to businesses. The team was very supportive and ensured that the process of submitting the application was quick and efficient. We had pre-empted most of the work in advance of Brexit negotiations being completed over Christmas 2020, and BSI was able to start the process when their offices re-opened on the 4th January 2021. We were awarded the UKCA mark shortly after, with the certificates arriving by the end of that week. Overall, it wasn’t a difficult transition, as the testing for conformity remains largely unchanged at this time across CE and UKCA marks. Indeed, application forms and documentation were required, in addition to separate surveillance certificate for the business; I can’t say it was difficult, because it wasn’t, thanks to BSI making it easy for us.
What were the main drivers behind AGA Rangemaster going for the UKCA Mark?
As a British manufacturer of range cookers and sinks, it was vital to obtain the UKCA mark for our products to eliminate the risk of disruption for customers. We anticipated the requirement for a UK mark around two or three years ago, because once the Brexit referendum was complete, there was an inevitability it would happen at some point. Back in 2018/2019, we changed our certification under the BSI UK (0086) test authority number and migrated our CE certificates to BSI NL (2797) to mitigate the risk of our products not being cleared at the EU borders. We understood that if we didn’t, there would inevitably be issues and disruptions when selling products into Europe after 1st January 2021.
Did AGA Rangemaster find it important to achieve this certification well in advance of the deadline?
We want our customers to have confidence in our products, because as the market leaders it’s important that we’re ahead of the game, supplying products that have longevity, are robust and satisfy customers’ needs. It’s all about confidence, showing consumers and customers that we’ve got our finger on the pulse, not only by manufacturing products that meet current legislation, but comply with forthcoming amendments, so they won’t need to be replaced or changed.
When we made the transition to obtain the UKCA mark, we drafted our data badge samples and consulted with BSI on whether it would be an acceptable format. This enabled us to submit all documentation prior to Christmas 2020, in anticipation that Brexit would be completed and the change would happen. We were issued with the certificates and now have a combined declaration of conformity, declaring both the UKCA and also the European CE certification.
Why does AGA Rangemaster use BSI for its product testing and certification?
BSI are not consultants, so they don’t tell us what to do, but their technical expertise and knowledge of standards and regulations make them a great partner and point of reference for us. At AGA Rangemaster, we have our own testing laboratories, but we use BSI to further reduce the risks of defects and non-compliance. The reality is, we’re selling premium products and require a premium approval authority to complement them. BSI is a world-renowned and well-respected test authority, so we look on them as a partnership; yes, there is a legal side to testing and compliance, but we don’t view it as overly onerous, due in part to the confidence and partnership we have built with BSI over the years.
Our focus is on building confidence, as well as improving and strengthening a product before it goes to market. We’re working with BSI more closely than ever; now, not only do we submit the products for testing, we also submit our test data. This open and transparent process allows us to investigate any performance results that may differ from our own. We even visit each other’s laboratories to understand the reasons why there might be a different result, such as whether it’s due to a particular piece of equipment or calibration. We have a good working partnership with BSI, so long may it continue.
What would you say to other manufacturers who haven’t achieved, or started the process of achieving, the UKCA mark yet?
The deadline is fast approaching; from 1st January 2022, only the UKCA certification will be recognised for market access in Great Britain. Come the end of the year, there’s going to be a real rush for products to conform to these standards. Consider this – would you rather act now and have time to ensure that your products comply, or potentially be caught up in problems at end of the year? As a business, we always prefer AGA Rangemaster to be at the front end, leading the way. This demonstrates to customers that we’re not just being driven by legislation and deadlines. If they know we’ve got our eye on the ball, it instils confidence there won’t be any interruptions that will affect them in the future.
Please visit their website for more information on their vast selection of range cookers and kitchen appliances.