The talk is nearly over. After more than three years of seemingly endless, occasionally vitriolic debate, Brexit is finally about to become a reality.
Unfortunately for the business world, 42-months was still not long enough to iron out a deal. Instead, we are left with a great deal of uncertainty about how things will work out and what exactly it will all mean in real terms. So, perhaps there is more to be said.
With this in mind, Technical Director of the Core Group, Dominic Delaney, took the proactive step of organising a special workshop for his company’s UK based partners. Charged with the unenviable task of making sense of the current situation, explaining what will (and might) happen, and advising on the best approach, were two representatives of the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). Mary White, Head of NSAI’s Brexit Unit, and Michael Smith, NSAI Brexit Specialist, were the perfect double act, with vast industry experience and a finely honed ability to disseminate the relevant information.
With four main divisions (Standards, Certification, Legal Metrology, and National Metrology Laboratory) the NSAI is Ireland’s representative on CENELEC (the European Standards Body) and IEC (the International Standards Body). From this position of authority, the organisation is well placed to educate on how Brexit will impact standards, certification, and CE Marking.
Having explained a little about the NSAI and its role, the initial discussion focussed on future technologies, and the rationale behind the European Single Market. Attention then turned to the National Rules for Electrical Installations, and the hierarchy of responsibility that runs from NSAI’s Electrotechnical Technical Committee TC2 through to the Commission Regulation of Utilities (CRU). There was also an in-depth analysis of CE Marking of products that are tested by notified bodies within the UK, and how after the complete of the transition period in December 2020, this will become null and void.
Brexit will bring with it a major shift in responsibility. Compliance with relevant EU directives and regulations is the preserve of the manufacturer and importer of the goods. The change and its implications were not lost on Commercial Director for Core Electrical Ltd, Dan Fisher: “Currently, as a distributor for our manufacturing partners, any issues are the responsibility of the manufacturer. However, post- Brexit we the distributor will be re-classified as the ‘importer’ and responsibility for products and solutions that we import will be down to Core.”