CE Mark

Unclarified Chinese exports putting the industry at risk

  • 2 Sep 2015

The British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) has issued a plea to ensure Chinese exports meet minimum standards for CE marking after tested steel was found to contain elevated levels of other metals.

Imports of Chinese steel was found to contain higher levels of boron, chromium and copper than the European standard. 

In a recent interview with New Civil Engineer, BSCA Director General Sarah McCann-Bartlett said the discrepancies stem from a differing interpretation of EU standards. 

She commented: “One of the issues that is because are export rebates in China, some of the steels may be classed as alloy steels, and there’s a little bit of contention about whether steels that are coming in are alloy or non-alloy.

It is possible to weld non-alloy steel and industry has been doing so for a long time.”

The BCSA has suggested clearer standards be put in place to allow qualified firms and employees to follow the correct process for the type of metal compositions they are dealing with.

CE Mark confusion

The plea comes after a number of reported instances where the close similarities between the EU ‘CE Mark’ and the Chinese ‘China Export’ Mark have caused confusion.

This has created a number of issues for those in the industry, as CE marking has been mandatory for products since July 2013. Complications in this area not only raises concerns about safety but also has legal implications.

Whilst larger UK companies such as Attenborough Doors can ensure products are genuinley CE marked for customers, smaller firms, or those buying exports directly, may find it more difficult to make the distinctions.

To tackle this, the BSCA’s McCann-Bartlett also added that some of the liability must fall on governments and their approach to policing CE marking across the whole supply chain.

She concluded: “Clients, consulting engineers and main contractors should be ensuring that all the construction products they use are properly CE marked.”

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