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BSRIA Brexit survey results: exit clarification neededAugust 2016


Clair Prosser, Press Officer, BSRIA
BSRIA has garnered the following intelligence from a recent member survey, the salient points were: clarification of the exit deal is needed; a short term downturn is expected until Article 50 is implemented; there is a general slowdown in investment until there are some clearly defined plans for trade tariffs; whether the UK chooses to remain in the European Economic Area; and labour availability from the EU may be impacted on as well as free movement of resources.

Observations about important changes or potential influences upon the building services consultant market:

  • The impact of the Brexit vote is still to be determined: we are expecting a short term downturn until Article 50 is implemented and fallout from the major political party leadership issues are resolved.
  • Brexit has had a sharply negative impact on an already slowing work stream: a difficult upcoming period is anticipated, and only a fast clarification of the nature of the exit deal will change this.
  • “Government turmoil” may delay some infrastructure spending.
  • There are effects of Brexit on office construction and investments and the willingness for companies to move into new office space.

Clair Prosser, Press Officer, BSRIA said: “One respondent was quite arch, commenting: ‘EU legislation with respect to the building industry could be of benefit once the final negotiations of Brexit are completed and could make the industry less constrained by influences from Brussels’.”

With the Brexit result pausing some UK infrastructure projects what other impacts (positive or negative) do you think the industry will see as the negotiations of Article 50 progress?

  • The whole picture remains uncertain and until the negotiations start the situation will remain the same until the member countries make their own positions clear with respect to the UK.
  • There is a general slowdown in investment until there are some clearly defined plans for trade tariffs.
  • Predict a slowing of the market while the uncertainty remains.
  • It will depend very much on whether the UK chooses to remain in the European Economic Area. If so, normality will resume sooner, though this will not avoid short-term harm to the industry.
  • The uncertainty due to Brexit will impact on projects and investments across Europe. Overall it will reduce activity in construction.
  • Almost wholly negative impact on the construction market until the shape of the exit is understood.
  • EU energy policy and EPBD directives (Energy Performance of Buildings) are a cause of concern.
  • The cost of importing materials is increasing, resulting in project values moving upwards.
  • Labour availability from the EU may be impacted on as well as free movement of resources.

Clair added: “There were more frank comments: ‘A loss of confidence of overseas investors – this has already occurred on some of the larger projects, though not those with German investors in particular’, but more encouraging feedback: ‘An increase in overseas investment due to value of the pound in apartments within London, maintaining the growth in apartment block construction’, finally: ‘difficult to say, we are in a funny limbo period at the moment, so don't expect much to happen positively or negatively until we enact Article 50’.”

 

These results were attained from supplementary questions asked of consulting engineers in the August BSRIA Business Bulletin questionnaire.

Article 50 (of the Lisbon Treaty) is the process of when an EU Member State decides to withdraw and notify the European Council of its intention. The Union negotiates and concludes an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. It is concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

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