Impact of Brexit on Construction

PIER (UK) work closely with numerous construction companies and have seen first-hand the impact of Brexit on the construction industry. 

On Christmas Eve 2020 after much debate, the European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on a post-Brexit trade agreement which came into effect as of 1st of January 2021. Since the referendum, the construction industry has come to grips with a number of challenges and with the addition of Brexit, skill shortages and Covid-19, there have been signs that change is happening within the industry. 

The Impact of Brexit on the Construction Industry

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) introduced several changes, which have had a major impact on procurement and the timings of construction projects. 

Construction products and materials have proven difficult to import since Brexit was finalised and with measures in place such as increased custom checks, product conformity assessment and restrictions on certain products that do not originate from the UK or the EU, this has slowed down even more. 

With items being ordered from overseas, the companies within the construction industry have had to take additional costs into consideration, as well as limitations on quantities of goods imported to the UK. 

In more recent weeks, the Government have been asked to address the shortage of construction materials as the industry has been left on its knees for months. With supplies lacking in roof tiles, cement and timber, the construction industry has been affected all year with prices continually soaring. The Federation of Masters Builders (FMB) have asked the government to address the decline in construction and to highlight the impact of Brexit on the construction industry. 

Staff and Driver Shortages

Free movement ended on the 31st of December 2020 and from the 1st of January 2021, the UK embarked a new global immigration system which requires employers to register as a sponsor in order to recruit from overseas. 

According to a survey by the Road Haulage Association, there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of around 600,000. Logistics UK, which represents freight firms and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “the pandemic halted driver training and testing for over 12 months, while an estimated 25,000 EU drivers returned home during the pandemic and following the end of the transition period.” 

The demand for construction workers is now close to 20-year high, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Employment in the construction sector has fallen from 2.3m in 2017 to 2.1m in 2020. This represents a 4% fall in UK-born workers and a 42% fall in EU workers. 

Job website Indeed says that construction has seen the highest growth in average advertised salaries since July, while Noble Francis expects 500,00 UK-born workers to leave the industry in the next 10 years as a demographic “bulge” of 50 to 65-year-olds. As the UK has already suffered from a shortage of skills and with 37% of the capital’s construction workforce coming across from EU countries, project costs have been increased with the demand for labour outstripping supply.

How has Brexit affected PIER (UK)? 

PIER (UK) have been working exceptionally closely with our manufacturers to ensure that parts for our excavators arrive so any maintenance can occur on time. This has enabled our team to remain on the road, assisting our customers across the United Kingdom, seven days a week. We ensure that our drivers are provided with an exceptional training program, continual support from our management team and the opportunity to obtain certificates for their career growth. 

With our vast experience in the construction industry, our team would be delighted to assist you on your upcoming project.

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