The construction industry is bracing itself for a hard Brexit
The Construction Leadership Council has set up a group that will focus on the fallout of Brexit on the construction industry. The establishment of the working group is a reflection of the worries that some leaders in the industry have that leaving the EU will negatively affect the sector, already rocked by COVID-19.
The working group has written down several critical issues that the industry will face in the event of a no-deal outcome to current EU negotiations.
The current chair of the group, Andy Mitchell, says that the Construction Leadership Council has a vital role to play in helping firms in the sector ready themselves for the challenges that the transition period will bring. Firms are likely going to have to radically rethink how they conduct their operations and the suppliers that they choose. A no-deal Brexit could make it increasingly challenging to source items from the EU, and managers could face significant raw materials delays over the coming months.
Whether there is a deal or not, the Construction Leadership Council says that it will continue working with people in the industry to help them adapt to changing circumstances. Companies – mostly small and mid-size businesses – will need guidance and leadership to show them what they need to do to accommodate all the rule changes coming their way.
The industry currently faces a triple threat of safety regulations, COVID-19 and Brexit disruption. CDM Consultants – an agency that specialises in workplace hazard mitigation – says that the industry already needs support in the health and safety arena. Add to that the disruption of regular building projects caused by COVID-19 and Brexit, and things are looking much less specific for players in the industry.
The National Federation of Builders is currently coordinating with the Construction Leadership Council to identify areas that are critical to businesses during the transition phase. It says that it will be releasing further information shortly in the form of a pack that companies can use to assist them in the transition period. Industry insiders expect the document to provide detailed advice on how to manage supply chain disruption and source materials from countries outside of the EU. It will also offer guidance for managing construction projects already underway in EU member states.
The NFB also says that it will be organising online seminars to guide struggling businesses over the web. These events will be a chance for industry players to ask questions and get the best advice from industry bodies on how to proceed in the most challenging environment thus far.
A hard Brexit won’t necessarily be the death knell for the industry, according to leading commentators. But the transition period could be messy. Companies, insiders report, could struggle to get the materials that they need for certain types of construction projects. There may also be a pullback in the amount of international investment in the UK, which would dampen demand for resources in the sector in the medium term.
In short, firms in the industry are asking for guidance and information at this crucial time.