Will Brexit affect cross border construction?

The uncertainty regarding Brexit is growing as we edge closer to the deadline in early 2019 as Grant Thornton points out.

The main concerns in the construction industry are:

  • Material exports and imports
  • Skills shortages
  • Regulations
  • Tendering

64% of materials are currently imported from the European Union. The fluctuations in the value of the sterling and euro are having a substantial impact on the cost and value of goods provided by suppliers from overseas. Brexit will most likely see a sharp increase in materials such as timber, steel and insulation. These materials have already had a price hike this year alone!

We also know that there is a severe lack of skilled labourers in the construction industry. Joiners, electricians and brickies are all hard to come by. More incentives need to be implemented by the government to overcome the shortage. With Brexit looming, will these incentives ever be put in place?

Health and Safety laws have tightened in the last 10 years. Regulations, policies, procedures, and risk assessments are carried out on a daily basis. According to sources, the regulations regarding Health and Safety could actually become more relaxed! NEBOSH consulted with the Health and Safety Lawyers Association and noted that “Working Time Regulations may be repealed and 71% felt duties on smaller firms may be watered down.”

Another main concern, especially for Building Contractors, is their current tendering processes. For builders that live along the border, it is common to tender for projects both north and south. Likewise, Self-Building clients in the Republic of Ireland tend to go in search of materials and labourers from NI. Will this be achievable once Brexit has been executed?

Self Build Ireland also noted a rise in Self Builds this year. This is predicted to rise even further in the next quarter. When we visited the Self Build show in September we got the feeling from a few that they want their projects completed before Brexit hits. Hence the sudden rise this year!

Overall, the construction industry needs to be well prepared for what lies ahead in early 2019. Or will it be as bad as everyone is making out? Time will tell.