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- By Andy Smith
Construction is readying itself for the UK’s exit from the European Union at the end of the year, including the possibility of a no-deal scenario, with the creation of a dedicated working group on the issue.
The Construction Leadership Council has set up the Brexit
Working Group in a bid to produce and signpost business guidance and information
to help the construction industry get ready and maintain business continuity at
the end of the transition period.
The group will also aim to identify critical issues facing
the construction industry in the event of no agreement that the government
should address before the transition period expires, as well as championing
opportunities for the construction sector in the numerous ongoing trade deal
negotiations with the EU and the rest of the world.
The work of the group will be split into four workstreams covering:
- Movement of People: preparing for the new immigration rules, accessing alternative labour supply and reciprocal arrangements on skills and qualifications in new trade deals.
- Movement of Goods and Materials: preparing for the new customs regime, guidance on WTO rules in the event of no agreement with the EU and alternative sourcing opportunities in the rest of the world and the domestic market.
- Standards and Alignment: guidance on the Construction Products Regulation, EU notified bodies, CE marking, UK designated standards, and UKCA marking.
- Data Adequacy: business awareness of the potential impact and mitigating actions on data flow in the event of no agreement with the EU and no decision by the European Commission on the UK’s ‘data adequacy’.
- In addition, the existing workstreams of the CLC will also take on Brexit-readiness related work, helping to produce guidance on matters including procurement and contracts.
Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the CLC, said: “The CLC has a
leading role to play in getting our business ready for the changes that will
come at the end of the transition period. While businesses contend with the
fallout from covid-19 and adjust to the new ways of working, the clock
continues to tick on reaching an agreement with the EU. Whether we reach an
agreement or not, our relationship with our European neighbours and the rest of
the world will change and we’ll be doing all we can to help the industry adapt,
adjust and rise to meet the Prime Minister’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ ambition.”
James Butcher, head of policy at the National Federation of
Builders, who is co-ordinating the Brexit Working Group added: “We’ve
identified four key areas that we believe are critical for business continuity
as we enter a new post-Brexit world. We will be publishing a suite of short
guidance beginning in September that explains those changes and prepares
businesses for what will happen both in terms of the changes we know about and
in the event of no agreement. We’ll also be holding short online seminars in
the autumn to explain and communicate the guidance produced.”