24th Jan 2018

Yvonne Orgill, CEO of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, talks about what you need to know about the CE Mark on bathroom products

So what does a CE Mark mean for you as a self-builder, and what exactly is it?  A CE Mark is an assurance that a product which has been made or imported has been certified “fit for purpose”.  The CE Mark demonstrates the manufacturer has subjected their products to rigorous performance testing to ensure they meet an agreed – or harmonised - standard.  The CE Mark is the standard which ensures a product is “fit for purpose”. 

But it’s not just quality which is important - safety is also paramount when it comes to bathroom products.  At the planning stage of your self build project, here are some important questions to ask yourself when considering what products should be included in your bathroom designs:

1.Why should I care about looking for a CE Mark?

That’s the same as asking “Why should I care about my safety and that of my family?”.  The danger of not installing products which are “fit for purpose” means you leave you and your loved ones open to serious accident or injury.  A toilet, for example, is unfit for purpose if it tips over and smashes when a person sits on it.  A glass shower screen is not fit for purpose if it shatters when being opened or closed.  You may think these sound like freak accidents, but they can and do happen in the home.  Would you want them to happen to you or your child or elderly parent – or even a visitor to your home?

2.What happens to me if I buy products which aren’t CE Marked?

To be clear, you are not breaking the law if you buy non CE marked products; it is the manufacturer placing illegal products onto the market that is liable.  However, if you, knowingly or otherwise, install illegal products into a bathroom, you are breaking the law.  If you buy illegal products and you ask someone else to install them, the installer is breaking the law.  To be sure you’re buying CE marked products, always use products from reputable manufacturers – you can find a list of them here.  And if you’re buying on the internet, look out for the Declaration of Performance a manufacturer will display on their website. 

3.What if my installer recommends products to save me money?  How will I know if those products are safe?

The best way is to ask your installer.  If they can show you the CE Mark on products or packaging you know they are not installing illegal products.  If there isn’t a CE Mark clearly visible, ask why not.  And if you can’t ask why not, don’t let them install it.  If a non-CE marked product is installed and you suffer as a result, you will have no comeback.   For total peace of mind, always ensure you choose a professional installer/installation service.

4.How do I know if a retailer is selling non-CE marked products?

According to a recent survey, a staggering 89% of people assume that UK retailers ONLY supply products which are CE marked and fit for purpose.  Sadly, this is not always the case.  As we become more price aware consumers, we are often attracted to installers who offer a ‘cheap’ service proposition.  These companies are able to reduce costs by compromising on product – product that doesn’t meet the CE mark of assurance.  If there isn’t a CE Mark clearly visible at a retail outlet you visit, ask why not.  And if you can’t ask why not, don’t buy it. 

5.Will my home contents insurance cover me if I install illegal bathroom products?

To be 100% sure, we advise you to check directly with your own insurance company.  The CE marking of bathroom products is an important legal requirement and consumers buying non-CE marked equipment do so at considerable peril.  Consumers need to realise that saving a few pounds by buying non-conforming products can be very expensive in the long term.  If this type of product fails it can cause major damage to an owner’s property and quite possibly severe personal injury.

It is highly unlikely that a manufacturer who supplies non-conforming product will be properly insured against any claims which would arise, and a householder’s own insurance may well refuse to meet a claim in these circumstances. If a visitor is injured a homeowner may well face criminal sanctions as well as personal claims.  A few pounds more spent with a reputable supplier will avoid all of these risks.

To buy or specify compliant bathroom products with confidence make sure you always seek out reputable bathroom product manufacturers.  You will find a list of them at www.bathroom-association.org/members/bma-members/


< back