While the physical act of building a custom computer for a customer is not illegial, there are other laws which make it virtually impossible to build & sell a computer to a customer without it being illegial (Epecially for small shops).

CE Marking:

Most people don't know this, but companies that build custom spec computer systems are braking the law unless they spend around £500 – £1000 for CE compliance for each "variant" of the system. In I.T., there are thousands of "variants" (e.g. size of RAM, made of hard drive, style of case)

I am asking the government to remove the CE testing, marking and documentation keeping for the companies that assemble or upgrade computers.

WEEE Waste Regulations:

Currently, even if you build a single custom PC for a customer, you are classed as a "producer" and have to sign up to a "weee producer compliance scheme". Given that the cost of this is around £600/year, this is outrageous!

Why is this idea important?

Custom built computers, or computers which have been upgraded/repaired, are all subject to EU laws on CE marking and WEEE regulations. I cannot stress enough how badly this works for the I.T. industry!

If a small computer shop makes a "custom built" computer for a customer, that shop will not have the money, time or willpower to send the computer for a "EMC test" which will cost about £500 – £1000! Considering that the profit made on a PC is around £50 – £100, this is unacceptable. Additionally, even if you build a single unit, you are classed as a "producer" under WEEE regulations and have to subscribe to a "Waste management scheme" – even if you arn't product much, if any, waste!

There should be a minimum limit (probably classed as weight) that you need to be at before WEEE regulations apply to you. Futhermore, custom built or upgraded computers should not be classes as "new products" so an exemption to the law should be made to the IT industry regarding CE marking.

Of course, laws should still be in place that make sure that the actual components used to build the PC are safe (or are themselves CE marked), however these components are made in large quantities by multi-national coroporations.

3 Replies to “Legalise building and selling computers”

  1. I totally agree with you here with such large costs for each variant, it means the PC market is owned by large manufacturers and small time sellers cannot compete.

  2. I also agree with this. The current legislation cripples small innovative businesses, who build bespoke computer systems. These companies use parts which are 100% CE compliant, but under current directives CE + CE =/= CE. The cost of testing systems is extortionate (often in excess of the value of the machine), and leads companies with little choice regarding their product ranges. The current legal requirements are likely to lead to: very standardised products (I would argue this has already happened), market stagnation (particularly in the case of innovation) / insurmountable barriers to entry and the promotion of criminal actvities (many vendors ignore the legislation because of how absurd it is in relation to the IT industry and the lack of effort there appears to be enforcing it). Regardless, this comment will probably be ignored as it is not headline worthy enough for the government’s PR department.

  3. you are talking utter rubbish, a dts scheme is about £150 a year and a take back in store scheme is free, the computers you take back can then be collected for free from a registered recycler

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