Brexit – the Countdown Begins for the UK Construction Industry

Brexit – the Countdown Begins for the UK Construction Industry

06th June 2016

Last week we took a look at how a Brexit vote is likely to affect the construction industry here in the UK. As the date for the referendum looms closer, news is coming in thick and fast and it seems that everybody wants to have their say, whether they’re advising voters to choose yea or nay! In the coming weeks, as the voting day gets closer, we’re going to keep you updated with all the twists and turns so that you can make an informed choice when it comes to placing your vote in the ballot box. Obviously, there will be differing points of view on whether or not the United Kingdom should remain part of the European Union and we’re going to take a fair stance and cover both sides in the hope of providing our readers with the information they need to make an informed choice on the day (23rd June, 2016).

This week has seen Jacqueline O’Donovan weighing in with her thoughts on the coming referendum. O’Donovan is Managing Director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal and, back in March, she won the Outstanding Woman in Construction Award, a huge achievement of which she should rightly be proud. With the construction industry making a concerted effort to attract more women into a traditionally male dominated sector, Jacqueline represents a shining beacon, particularly for young women and students who will view her achievements as a positive reason for choosing a career in construction. She is a valuable role model for women in the construction and waste industries and takes her role seriously enough to provide mentoring support for a number of women who work both within her company and elsewhere in the construction sector.

When it comes to the referendum, O’Donovan makes no bones about being outspoken and has sought to disseminate her views across the industry in a recent interview. She maintains that the UK construction industry relies so heavily on migrant labour that it would become “unable to function” in the aftermath of a Brexit. Access to labour via the free flowing pool of migrants that come from the EU is an important factor in a bid to fill skilled and unskilled jobs in the construction industry here in the UK. The EU principle of free movement is vital when it comes to enjoying simple and stress-free immigration between the member states.

O’Donovan also warns about the impact a Brexit would have on investment which could negatively impact the construction sector as house prices are affected. The EU is the largest trading union in the world and if we vote to leave, we’re likely to see a ripple effect which could discourage companies from investing in vital safety technology and training, both of which are essential for the sector’s growth. Even more worrying, according to O’Donovan, is the fact that construction companies may reduce prices and cut corners as work becomes scarcer to find and companies face the challenge of securing any work that is available.

While so many are making wild predictions about what will happen here in the UK following a Brexit, the uncertainty that’s faced by the construction industry (which is the biggest employer in the country) is sure to have a detrimental effect for quite some time as the country struggles to make sense of a very different future to the one we have envisaged for so many years.