February 28, 2021

UK building industry upbeat about EU trading deal

UK construction is gearing up for business as normal with the threat of tariffs and quotas avoided thanks to the trading agreement struck with the EU last month.

Trade bodies across the industry are pleased continuity in costs and availability of products and materials is now in place.

Construction Leadership Council‘s Brexit working group chair, James Butcher, said: “The mutual co-operation in respect of reducing technical trade barriers and co-operation at the border will also undoubtedly help to avoid some of the risks of delay and disruption.

“What this means is that we will not see the inflationary shock of tariff and quota introductions or the expected currency depreciation associated with a no-deal. This deal delivers certainty at a time when it is needed most and represents a good day for British construction.”

The agreement secures a continuation of rules of origin where bilateral recognition of assembly means UK inputs and processing into EU products and materials will be recognised.

The National Federation of Builders said this would encourage trade and ensure complex product supply chains would not become burdensome or costly through technical and regulatory barriers.

Steps taken to ease port pressure

The UK and the EU have also agreed trusted trader schemes and co-operation in customs at the border to explore the exchange of import and export information and aide ‘roll-on-roll-off’ flow at ports.

Builders Merchant Federation chief executive, John Newcomb, said: “We now have the assurance of the continued free flow of materials needed to fulfil the government’s promise to build back better, improve the energy efficiency of our homes and create the many thousands of jobs required to do so.”

A mutual agreement over VAT and debt recovery, building on existing international agreements, was reached.

Progress on migrant workers with the UK and EU agreeing on a framework for mutual recognition of professional standards and qualifications was also made.

Fast bridging loan brokers Hank Zarihs Associates said development finance lenders were optimistic that builders would be able to carry on as normal.

However, the UK and EU were unable to agree mutual recognition of conformity assessments, which means UK bodies will not be able to certify products to EU standards and vice versa.