Chris Graham, Construction Materials Online

Brexit: Shining light on British construction materials?

  • 26 Oct 2016

Chris Graham, Brand Manager at Construction Materials Online‘s Roofing Superstore, discusses what Brexit means for construction materials.

In the past month, we have received more clarity on when and how the Brexit process will start. Whilst 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 house building.

But what does Brexit mean for construction materials?

For an industry which imports 64% 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.

Sourcing construction materials locally

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% of Brits associated UK manufacturing brands with high quality, whilst 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.

Post-Brexit progress

Many manufacturers and suppliers are flourishing in the months following the vote, seizing the opportunity to showcase innovative product portfolios; this is likely to continue, at least until Brexit trading regulations are finalised.

Whilst 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 whilst 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.

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