What impact is Brexit uncertainty having on you?
Steve Oliver, senior partner, MLM Consultants
We do £32m a year, 10% of our business comes from the EU while 20% of our staff also does. Overall I see it as business as usual but I think the situation will present new opportunities. Leading up to the referendum a lot of work from our clients was put on hold. They hit the pause button.
I think there’s a new normal developing at the moment and that’s where schemes are being reappraised or re evaluated. That’s not culminating necessarily on schemes going on hold, it’s culminating in a reflection, so people maybe looking at such things as changing the concept, the format, the value of construction.
Rab Bennetts, founder, Bennetts Associates
So far for most it appears to be business as usual, but overall there is a lack of certainty. There may be a slowdown or cancellation of projects but I think that will mainly be in the commercial area.
As for a loss of people or creatives in the industry, that could happen and I think that’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. There’s a sense of rejection for people who have come here from Europe, they may be questioning their futures and a loss of them would be keenly felt.
Simone DeGale, founder of Simone de Gale Architects
In the longer term, I’m confident the construction industry will not be adversely affected because the government will establish strong trading agreements for the country, as the UK is highly regarded around the world for its excellent standards of architectural education and export of architectural design and construction.
However, this will take time. The Brexit result will impact the decision-making process of overseas investors into projects in the UK in the short term, and this could mean some architectural practices will need to look at projects outside the UK whilst the market rebuilds its security.
While I believe that the quality of architecture and construction in the UK will continue to retain its merit around the world, a large amount of investment in research and development in the construction industry evolves from the European Union, and with the UK’s exit, the strength of position to direct and steer EU standards will be removed, and this really will be a difficult position to come back from.
Rory O'Connor, managing director at engineering firm, RoC Consulting
Pre-referendum, we witnessed sluggishness in the sector because of a sea of uncertainty, but now that a decision has been made, we can start to see the shape of what lies ahead in our ”post-Brexit” era.
We’re more resilient and stronger than in 2008, but we need to be sharper, more efficient and more productive to trade effectively with Europe, the G8 and G20 nations.
The government’s policy seems to focus on unifying a divided electorate and it is essential that we now build and upgrade our infrastructure to provide a solid education for all, to create a skilled workforce, affordable housing developments and an efficient transport system.
Adriano Amorese, partner (Real Estate Practice), Berwin Leighton Paisner
The road to Brexit is long and untrodden and is littered with obstacles. The construction industry has plenty of time to prepare. This is not history repeating itself. With certain exceptions – the illiquidity of some commercial property funds being the most obvious example – the economy is much better equipped to deal with market volatility now than in 2008.
Also, after a brief period of uncertainty, we now have a government again which, for all of its imperfections, has already helped to restore some semblance of stability and confidence to the markets. The industry has survived worse and dare I say it, Brexit could just be what the industry need to break out of its cycle of complacency and force it to do things better, more efficiently and without over-reliance on other EU member states.
Monika Slowikowska, founder, Golden Houses Developments
The first signs of a property crash could be emerging. Housebuilding companies’ shares are already down by as much as 40% and bank shares are plunging. The construction industry and the banks are always the first to show signs of a crash and these signs are already visible.
David Savage, construction partner, at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys
The Brexit vote could lead to a shortage of skilled workers that would create significant uncertainly in the market, as there is a chance it may lead to an acute skills crisis. Given the importance of access to labour and flexible working, the construction industry may stand to lose more from Brexit than any other industry.