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What will UK construction look like post-EU?

uk-post-eu-constructionThe fallout from the EU Referendum has left all of us thinking about what the future holds, both personally and for our businesses.

Like every workplace in the country, the Cooper & Hall offices have been buzzing with debate on the seismic decision to leave the EU.

With a fair spread of Remainers and Brexiteers, it has been fascinating to hear opinions from each side.

What we all have in common, however, is an understanding of our industry and the fact that construction will be the first to feel the effects of an economic boom time, or downturn.

As the nation holds its breath waiting for details of how and when we will leave Europe, there is a great deal of uncertainty around construction.

A poll taken earlier this year showed two-thirds of the industry backed continued EU membership. And it’s easy to see why.

With so many building sites populated by workers from continental Europe, an end to the free movement of labour would undoubtedly cause an immediate skills shortage.

Amongst our envelope contractor clients, it is now typical to find entirely Eastern European site installation teams.

Meanwhile the soothsayers are predicting a slowdown in house building – and even a collapse in the commercial property market as investors hold on to their money amid the uncertainty.

Well, we’re not buying that. Not yet anyway.
There will undoubtedly be changes to our working practices, around contracts and construction law, once we extract ourselves from European legislation.

For now, let the dust settle on the life-changing events of 23 June before we start to plan for the future.

On whichever side of the political divide you fall, maybe we should all heed the words of that great industrialist and philanthropist John D Rockefeller: “If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.”

To get a straightforward view of how Brexit might work, we found these articles and radio programmes very helpful.

· BBC Radio 4 Law In Action “Brexit – The Legal Minefield”:
· The Business Desk – Yorkshire:

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