In just the past month, we have received more clarity on when and how the Brexit process will start. While the economy isn’t out of the woods yet, for the construction industry it appears to be holding steady with output remaining largely unchanged, alongside a surprising (if only small) increase in housebuilding.
But what does Brexit mean for construction materials? For an industry which imports 64 per cent of its materials from the EU and with the value of sterling falling dramatically, contractors will likely face a significant rise in material costs when acquiring from overseas, as well as imposed duties and limits for exporters. As a result, this could lead to a shortage of construction materials in the UK, along with a hefty price tag.
With the finer details of Brexit yet to be finalised, and with rumours circling the industry on the eventual outcome, it can be said that with change comes new opportunity. Brexit is arguably helping to shine the light on British manufacturers and suppliers, with the vote helping many to thrive in the face of uncertainty, whilst showcasing the best in home-grown construction products. We have already started to see a trend emerging, with contractors choosing to purchase building products manufactured locally.
Figures released earlier this month also show that manufacturing output has hit a two-year high, with the industry appearing to take full advantage of the falling pound. As a result, local goods are becoming more competitive in the global market, with recognition being awarded to the higher quality and grade long associated with British products. A recent study by Barclays also showed that the ‘Made in Britain’ label commands premium rates overseas.
In turn, British homeowners and developers are becoming more educated as to how and where their products are being sourced. In fact, 73 per cent of Brits associated UK manufacturing brands with high quality, while also believing they are vital in supporting the local economy, employment landscape and innovation. Other obvious benefits include shorter delivery times, greater flexibility and the availability of bespoke designs, with Britain now emerging as a key player in the global construction market.
Many manufacturers and suppliers are thriving, but who are the ones riding the post-Brexit tide? Atlas Roof Solutions, eco-friendly insulation firm Thermafleece and waterproofing solutions provider Acrypol are just some of the organisations flourishing in the months following the vote, seizing the opportunity to showcase their innovative and robust product portfolios; something which is likely to continue, at least until Brexit trading regulations are finalised.
Some organisations are already evolving to changes in the industry following the vote, including Mark Lynn, Managing Director of Thermafleece who said:
“The recent referendum decision has produced uncertainty but with change comes opportunity. In my view, any change that alters our reliance on cheap ‘throw-away’ imported products is a good thing, and sales of Thermafleece and Supaloft insulation have remained strong since June – which is reassuring.
“We manufacture quality insulation products in the UK using British materials which hopefully gives us an advantage. Nonetheless, we still look to Europe for a lot of innovation in the sustainable building sector and I expect this to continue in the future. We have strong relationships with European partners and I know they are keen for these to continue, as much as we are.”
While the full implications of Brexit are yet to be realised (and likely won’t be for a while yet), the immediate future is looking a little brighter for Britain’s construction industry. And while we may still have to brace for impact, the industry has by no means fallen into a state of disrepair. If nothing else, Brexit has helped to position Britain as a global player in the manufacturing and construction industry, with contractors, homeowners and developers looking closer to home for their building materials needs, showcasing the best of ‘Made in Britain’ and home-grown innovation.
Article Submitted by Roofing Superstore