Construction experts RICS have expressed concern for some time about the impact of Brexit on construction, particularly as positions harden.
Construction and Infrastructure market surveys continue to illustrate the ongoing skills shortage. However, the ‘Preparing for Brexit’ report released this week underlines the potential wider impact on productivity and investment in a post-EU Britain.
EU worker shortage
The ‘Preparing for Brexit’ report warns that losing access to EU workers in the construction sector could make it harder to achieve infrastructure ambitions, also reducing firms capacity to hit Government housing targets amid the continuing housing shortage regularly illustrated in the RICS UK housing market survey.
It is easy to see how London would be disproportionately affected in terms of construction and skills, and both for the capital and beyond it is an absolute necessity that construction workers and built environment professionals, such as quantity surveyors, are added to the UK occupation shortage list.
Looking at the wider implications in the analysis released this week, the impact on supply chains and the flow of construction materials and goods could confound this picture as around two-thirds of both export and imports of building materials are with the EU. Moreover, losing access to access to EU funding streams – including potentially the European Investment Bank (EIB) – and the dampening of demand from foreign investors due to uncertainty would be a further threat.
The UK Government must act promptly to keep EIB funding or introduce a new lender, or lending mechanism, to plug the gap created from the potential loss of EIB funds, particularly for shovel ready projects that are of great importance to the capital.