Brexit, what does it mean for your business?
The potential decrease in the available workforce is a point that is particularly pertinent to the construction industry. The sector is dependent on EU migrant workers and the number of British citizens pursuing a career in construction is decreasing, with a departure from the EU potentially worsening the skills shortage. Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that one-third of workers on construction sites in London are from overseas, with 28% coming from the EU.
Increased project costs
Project costs are dependent on supply and demand. If there aren’t enough skilled workers to complete a job, the cost of those we have available will increase. This might sound great, you can up your day rate, but it could also mean construction slows down as an industry with the housing sector suffering significantly.
Brexit means the UK will lose its access to the single market and with two-thirds of construction materials coming from the EU, this is likely to increase prices significantly. Homeowners in particular will be reluctant to pay a premium for products they could have got for half the price only two years ago, so it may get harder to convert a sale. Worse still, there may be limits on the amount of materials we can important into the country, with significant taxes and levies further increasing prices.
The UK has benefitted from significant amount of EU funding and once we leave, the likes of HS2 could be put on hold. It is worth noting however that we will be saving the money contributed to be a member of the EU, so this may be reinvested in the industry. There is also the potential for private investors to engage and fund projects.
Leaving the EU could mean that we see a reduction in the amount of red tape we need to cut through in the industry. A lot of the legislation we work to today is EU mandated so we could potentially see changes here, however talks are currently underway to determine whether the UK will still need to adhere to existing trading standards.
No one is yet sure of the impact Brexit will have on the construction industry, or the UK as a whole, but keep coming back to The View where we’ll provide updates as it progresses.