February 2019 - Earthmoving
Although there’s been no shortage of opinion voiced on the pros and cons of Brexit since the referendum two years ago, this most seismic of political upheavals has actually had very little impact on the UK construction industry to date.
New work has continued to flow smoothly through the pipeline; if the industry were paralysed by the uncertainty of Brexit, the Builders’ Conference wouldn’t be able to report contracts worth almost £6bn in January 2019 (see page 16). Life seems to go on as normal.
At the time of writing nobody can predict whether the UK will leave the EU with or without a deal. It’s not even certain that the UK will leave at all, as scheduled, on 29th March. But there are few signs of real alarm in the industry.
The Construction Products Association has reported an unusual rise in the sale of materials towards the end of 2018, which it can only explain as the result of purchasers stockpiling as a hedge against Brexit meltdown. Indeed, one housing developer, St Modwen, has confirmed that it is stockpiling £10m-worth of imported materials in case supplies are disrupted by Brexit.
These are hardly signs of panic, though. Despite the shambles that Brexit has become, the prevailing mood seems to be one of bewilderment rather than dread. After all, what can any of us do about it now?