How will Brexit impact the construction industry?

It’s not yet clear how Brexit will affect the construction industry. Right now, there’s certainly a lot of concern and speculation over what will happen next. We can’t be sure of any future outcomes now, and it’s likely to be a case of wait and see, but here’s what representatives in the industry have been speculating so far…

How will it affect the workforce?

Raconteur say: The construction industry is heavily reliant on migrant workers and imported skilled labour. Currently 15 percent of the UK construction work force are non-UK workers, rising to over 50% in London.

Mark Robinson , Chief Executive from the Public Sector Organisation Scape Group has said that the UK was “heavily reliant” on talent from the EU.

“Since the financial crash in 2008, the UK construction sector has become heavily reliant on talent from the EU – in fact, this summer it was reported that one in four construction workers in London is an EU national.”

“But given that three-quarters of EU nationals currently working in Britain earn less than £30,000 in sectors such as construction, and the UK is doing nothing to encourage the 40,000 EU citizens with low skills who currently reside in the UK to remain. We are going to face a real problem come 2021 when the new system is expected to come into effect.”

Research firm, Wilbury Stratton say “Brexit could not be happening at a worse time for the construction industry.”

“For many years, the EU has provided the essential extra workers needed to help diminish the skills gap in the UK construction industry. Official statistics suggest that approximately 194,000 construction workers across the UK are foreign-born. So what happens if this huge pool of talent ups and leaves after Brexit?”

How will it affect Architects?

European Architect, Piers Taylor is very vocal on twitter about his concerns, saying: “Under the proposed immigration laws [EU nationals] won’t be classified as skilled workers thus will be denied visas thus diminishing the culture of architecture enormously. ‘National’ identify is meaningless in the practice of architecture (&much else IMO that stems from accident of birth).”

How will it affect funding for projects?

Research by Wilbury Stratton draws attention to the fact that institutions such as the European Investment Fund the European Investment Bank have been valuable for UK construction. Their sources fear that the investment gap won’t be filled by the government and the industry will have to resort to PFI  (private funding initiatives).

In conclusion, there’s a lot of fear and anger in the industry about what’s going to happen after March 2019. All we can do now is wait and see!

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