UK market intelligence: Building successfully in Brexit Britain

Kristoffer Hudson


Our UK market intelligence for autumn/winter 2020 examines whether the industry is sleepwalking into its post-Brexit future and what clients can do to make the shift successfully.

Just a few months ago, Britain’s decision to leave the EU was correctly being seen – and argued over – as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ economic event. But the sheer scale of the impact of COVID-19 relegated Brexit to the sidelines.

While the construction industry has rightly been focusing on adapting to the pandemic, Brexit has not gone away. With the UK fast approaching the end of its transition period with the EU and from 1 January 2021 there will be major changes to the way British businesses import materials, hire people or procure from the EU.

Economic outlook

The speed at which GDP and construction output collapsed, and then reversed, in response to COVID-19 has been breathtaking. After plummeting 19.5 and 40.2 percent respectively in the first month after lockdown was declared, activity picked up sharply after restrictions were eased.

In the third quarter of 2020, construction output rose by a record-breaking 41.9 percent compared to the previous three months.

Positives may also be seen in construction insolvency data. Government stimulus has supported three consecutive quarters of falling insolvency figures, culminating with a decrease of 27.6 percent in Q3 2020.
Our latest survey of contractors also found that the extreme hit to confidence seen earlier in 2020 was starting to reverse.

Taking back control

The sheer scale of the COVID-19 crisis has made it tempting for clients to ignore, or at the very least underestimate, the impact the end of the UK’s Brexit transition period will have.

But the COVID-19 distraction should not be allowed to plunge the industry into Brexit disruption. Clients must use these final days and weeks before the end of 2020, a year dominated by the global pandemic, to optimise and activate their Brexit risk management strategies.

Download the report to see more economic data and insight, and to read about tender conditions in the UK.

Further resources

Please visit our COVID-19 response page for all of our resources relating to the impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector.

For further information contact:

Kristoffer Hudson
Associate Director, Leeds

t: +44 7939048589