Until more details on the exact conditions of Brexit become available, it’s difficult to say exactly what the consequences will be – but it’s pretty clear that any kind of Brexit deal will lead to at least some large-scale disruption to the construction industry, as well as related industries such as architecture and civil engineering.
A no-deal Brexit, in particular, is likely to have far-reaching consequences for anyone involved in construction at any level.
Trade with EU Countries
It’s fairly clear that trade with the EU will be affected by a no-deal Brexit. While things may eventually get back on an even keel, the sudden loss of long-established ways of doing things is likely to lead to disruption in the short term, with supply problems, cost increases and confusion around which sets of safety requirements are being followed for materials and procedures. It’s still unclear what tariffs might be imposed, and there may be substantial delays at borders as products from the UK now have to comply with different regulations than before.
Trade with non-EU Countries
Since the UK currently trades as part of the EU, we will need to develop many new relationships with other trading partners in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, without the clout we have enjoyed as part of a large and powerful economic bloc. While that puts us in a vulnerable position, it doesn’t mean we can’t succeed – but the transition will take time, and a lot will depend on what decisions the Government makes when it comes to tariffs.
Working in Europe
At the moment, British companies are on the fast track when it comes to bidding on contracts in other EU countries. After a no-deal Brexit it’s likely that we will still be able to apply for those contracts, but under much less favourable conditions than before, and the mechanisms for doing it are not yet clear.
Supply of Labour
Today’s UK construction industry relies heavily on workers from the EU, particularly from countries like Poland. Although a no-deal Brexit probably won’t lead to every Polish builder disappearing overnight, we have already seen a reduction in the number of EU citizens in the UK, as they assess their options and decide that the UK is no longer as welcoming a place as it once was. Once EU citizens no longer have the right to work in the UK as a matter of course, the problem is likely to get worse. There’s no clarity yet on what, if anything, will be done to address this issue.
No Investment Decisions
There’s also the knock-on effect of economic uncertainty – projects both large and small may end up being put on hold while business owners and householders alike wait to see what the financial impact of a no-deal Brexit will be.
Until there’s more clarity on exactly how things are going to change, all we can do is make plans for as many contingencies as possible.
Lydon Contracting Ltd
Your Total Construction Solution
Tel: 01327 811533