BuildingTalk, an online news service covering Britain's construction industry, today presented six views from the nation's building product manufacturers on how the U.K.'s exit from the European Union would affect its construction activity. Their advice: Stay tuned.
"Construction project planning is a long term game," noted John Sinfield, a managing director of Knauf Insulation. "Unless things become more predictable, building-in assumptions on a project’s cost of capital, the cost of imported goods and services, the cost of land or the cost of various currencies will be difficult. Pricing in that uncertainty to U.K. projects would require the expensive addition of a hedge fund manager and currency speculator to the traditional team."
Anyone who thinks they can tell you today what this means for the country or construction is a fool, or selling something. We’re all going to have to manage through a period of uncertainty until markets and politicians settle; and we understand how this affects consumer confidence.
Others called for decisive government action to limit Brexit's shock and noted that leaving the European Union likely will aggravate an already painful labor shortage in construction trades."It’s important that migrants already here know there are no plans to change their status. Britain values their contribution," said Steve Durdant-Hollamby, managing director of Alumasc Water Management Solutions.
Added Andy Williamson, group managing director for IKO plc: "In the short term, products we buy from Europe, finished goods and raw materials including oil, will be more expensive because of a weakened pound. But that is an opportunity for British manufacturers. Made-in-Britain products will now be more competitive. ... In the medium to long term we still have a housing shortage to address, and [renovations and repair] will still need doing. Major investment projects are likely to be more of an issue, and we’ll see inflationary pressure. "