Don't Panic! Minimising the Disruption of Brexit

Added: 19/07/16 Author: Mark Tomlin

The result of the EU Referendum is certainly a topic that divides opinion, and which will continue to be discussed for months to come, especially during this period of political uncertainty.

Unfortunately, it's in this stasis that doubt, confusion and negativity can creep in. Indeed, a new joint report from Markit and the CIPS UK Construction PMI shows that construction output has fallen at its fastest pace since June 2009, during the depths of the recession, thanks in no small part to the confusion about the shape of the UK economy post Brexit.

Whether this change is viewed as a positive or a negative, the UK will be leaving the EU, and so it’s vital that the industry finds ways of moving forward and capitalising on the opportunity by promoting growth and change within the sector.

For instance, one of the primary arguments for the UK leaving the EU was freeing the country from overly restrictive regulations. With these perceived barriers removed, we now have a chance to set our own targets based on our ways of working to achieve greater efficiency.

On the subject of objectives, we already have a goal in place in the form of Construction 2025, which was created by the UK Government, without any European prompting. Its aims – 33% lower costs, 50% faster construction, 50% lower emissions and, crucially, a 50% improvement in exports – are just as relevant now as ever before, if not more so.

In order to boost exports, not only to the remaining EU nations but also further afield, construction needs to capitalise on the UK’s reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality products and materials, as well as the expertise that its professionals can offer.

For instance, architects such as Norman Foster have designed buildings as far afield as China, Morocco and the USA, demonstrating the tendency for developers to focus on skills, rather than nationality.

By focusing on what we do best and building on this, rather than spreading ourselves too thinly, the UK construction industry can reinforce its position as a major player in the international market.

Looking closer to home, there also needs to be a continuing drive to improve building quality, which in turn will create better spaces for businesses, helping them to flourish.

As stated by Paul Nash, Senior Vice President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB): "Better buildings and infrastructure contribute to productivity not just through their primary function or by increasing economic output. By making people happier, safer and healthier, benefits which are often overlooked, the built environment encourages society to be more productive."