Preparing for a No Deal Brexit

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East
Last week it was announced that the Queen had accepted the Prime Minister’s request to prorogue parliament, something which very rarely happens. For me, this just adds more uncertainty to the Brexit turmoil.
Proroguing parliament means that the current parliamentary ‘session’ ends and then a new ‘session’ begins after a short break. The Prime Minister argues that it gives his new government a chance to bring forward its own legislative agenda, but surely, it’s only going to add to the political chaos? Nobody knows what’s going on with Brexit, all we know is that regardless of the progue parliament, a ‘no deal’ Brexit is looking more likely every day.
A ‘no deal’ would mean that Britain would leave the group of nations with no trade agreements or customs and immigration operations in place at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and at Dover, the English end of the “chunnel” that runs between France and Britain – which just terrifies me for the future of the industry. Plenty of advice has been issued to help businesses prepare for such an eventuality, after all, there’s not a lot else we can do while we wait to see what happens…

  • The government has launched the new UK Conformity Assessed mark, which if approved, will replace the CE marking for certain goods. They’ve also published guidance relating to the Construction Products Regulation and how it will apply in the event of ‘no deal’.
  • The HMRC has also published advice for companies that trade with the EU, with details of important actions you need to take and changes to be aware of.
  • The European Commission has published guidance for firms on the treatment of industrial products in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. This covers a range of issues including guidance for importers, the transfer of notified body certificates and accreditation, all of which are relevant to the industry.
  • The Federation of Master Builders recommends you include the following words in new written quotations and contracts: “If there are any significant changes in the price of the work or any new taxes arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union then we will tell you what those charges are when we know, and ask how you want us to go ahead.”
    If Britain does crash out of the EU and the predicted shortages happen, Parliament have nobody to blame but themselves and it’s going to be up to them to find solutions. While it’s all still up in the air, there’s not a lot we can do but prepare for the worst. My one piece of advice? Don’t let a ‘no deal’ take you by surprise.
    For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk.