Counterfeit CE Marking - How to Spot it

Counterfeit CE Marking - How to Spot it

17th March 2015

It’s been about 18 months since CE marking became mandatory under the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) at the beginning of July, 2013.  This was the biggest change in a decade in the way in which construction products are sold in the UK and Europe.  It became mandatory for manufacturers of steel and aluminium construction products to CE mark their products.  As of July 1st, 2014 all fabricators of structural steelwork and structural aluminium structures must CE mark the structures they manufacture to comply with the harmonised standard (EN 1090-1).  This puts fabricated structural steelwork and structural aluminium structures on an equal footing with all other construction products covered by the CPR.

However, it seems that a large number of fabricators have not been keeping abreast of changes in the requirements brought in by the EN 1090-1.  The requirements are more stringent that for other construction products because the fabricators need to appoint a responsible welding co-ordinator and implement a Welding Quality Management System that will oversee the fabricator’s capability for working to their maximum Execution Class.  This Execution Class must be stated in the welding certificate, one of the three documents that a fabricator needs to earn the right to CE mark products.

Like any other mark, the CE Mark gets misused and it is sometimes affixed to products that do not fulfil the requirements or conditions, making the products potentially dangerous to use.   Controlling the products bearing CE marking is the responsibility of the public authorities in the Member States and the procedures, measure and sanctions that apply to counterfeiting of the CE marking vary according to each of the Member State’s national administrative and penal law.  We’ve already published a blog post on the confusion that can arise when faced with a Chinese Export product.  However, counterfeit CE marked products do sometimes slip through the net, so here’s what to look out for if you’re checking for a counterfeit CE marking.

The official CE mark was designed by taking two slightly overlapping circles and using them as the basis for the letters C and E.  This means that there is a space between the two letters that can be clearly seen on the grid.  On the diagram you can see the CE mark, the CE mark with the grid behind it and then a fake CE mark in which the letters are spaced too close together.

CE Accredited Fabrications

No doubt, those wishing to counterfeit the CE mark will become more adept at doing so as time goes by, so vigilance will always be necessary when buying products that should bear a CE mark.  If you’re faced with a CE mark and you’re not sure whether or not it is authentic, then you have every right to ask the manufacturer if you can see the actual CE Certificate.  If you have any concerns that the products you are being offered bear a counterfeit CE mark, then it’s time to get in touch with the Trading Standards Office.