The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has set up a dedicated Brexit Working Group as the clock ticks towards a possible no deal exit from the current standstill arrangements.
Although the UK left the European Union in January, the CLC said the creation of the group comes in advance of the expiry of the transition period at the end of the year.
Post-Brexit construction work in Leeds, July 2020
It said the Working Group aims to produce and signpost business guidance and information to help the construction industry ‘get ready and be prepared to maintain business’ and will aim to identify critical issues facing the construction industry (in the event of no agreement) that the Government should address in advance.
It will also champion opportunities for the construction sector in the numerous ongoing trade deal negotiations.
Andy Mitchell CBE, 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 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.’
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, UKCA marking and the longer-term prospects of (de)harmonisation and (de)alignment
- 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’
The CLC said its existing workstreams will also take on Brexit-readiness related work, helping to produce guidance on matters including procurement and contracts.