In nearly six months, the UK is expected to leave the EU and concerns are understandably mounting.
The property industry has already started to feel the impact of Brexit and has ongoing concerns about skill and labour shortages, the increasing price of materials and potential import and export tariffs.
Another area of concern for the industry has been how the system of advertising UK contracts for works, goods and services to EU companies will work after Brexit and how businesses in the UK construction industry will be able to continue to bid for work, goods and services in Europe.
The government’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit include the recent guidance: ‘Accessing public sector contracts if there’s no Brexit deal’.
The government has at least given some insight into its thinking about how works, goods and services can be advertised and procured across the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, there is very little detail on how this will work in practice. In particular, while the guidance states that “suppliers who wish to access contract opportunities from the EU may continue to do so via Official Journal of the EU/Tenders Electronic Daily”, it is not clear whether this position would be agreed on by the EU or whether suppliers would have to access OJEU/TED as third country participants.
UK public authorities, construction companies, construction industry professionals and other businesses in the sector may also be concerned that they will potentially have to familiarise themselves with a new UK e-notification service.
One thing is clear though, with no agreement yet reached with the EU, and with the Brexit date looming in a matter of months, the government should be working hard behind the scenes to flesh out its guidance, to provide certainty for UK public authorities and the construction industry before 29 March. We must hear more on this by the end of the year.