Comment on: Bell Phillips architect standing for election
Brilliant news - go for it Jay!
I particularly appreciate the mention of David Dunster here, thank you Paul. I would love to hear more stories, to add to my own still very vivid recollections of his compelling character. He was a brilliant lecturer, tutor and mentor and a huge inspiration for many generations of architects. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling an enormous debt of gratitude for his work.
Hi Paul, sure if you consider HMRC soothsayers:
What is the grand vision of Brexit that architects are supposed to be getting behind? So far I'm yet to hear of a single benefit to our industry - but please persuade me otherwise?
What do we anticipate will be the effect of Brexit on the cost of building?
We have to specify and source a huge amount of materials and products from the EU on our projects (because manufacturing in the UK has been whittled away over decades). Curtain walling, glass, precast panels, composite window, linoleum - the list is endless.
After Brexit, our currency will likely plunge further against the Euro and this will add costs; without a customs union the supply and transportation of goods from the EU will be subject to customs checks (lorries will be stopped and contents audited and valued) creating friction, slowing delivery and adding to overhead costs; under a Hard Brexit/No Deal we will potentially be buying goods outside the free trade area, adding taxes and tariffs and you guessed it, adding costs. The government has offered no certainty on any of the above.
When building costs go up viability assessments will fail, market confidence will drop, people will speculate less, people will build less, architects will have less work. This at a time of a national housing crisis, when we need to build more than we've ever built before. Of course this is about our livelihoods, why risk any of this? What objective benefits are there to UK architecture for us being outside of the EU?
Regarding workers rights, these are currently safeguarded under EU arrangements and are a much softer target after Brexit for UK politicians who seek deregulation and the removal of 'red tape', so the likely effect would be a worsening of workers rights and health and safety regulations in general, not the improvement.
We employ architects from the EU because they are extremely talented, they are here on merit and treated equally - there is no other motive at play. If we make it harder for EU architects to work in the UK, the quality and standards of the built environment will ultimately suffer because we will have less talented teams working across the industry. UK architecture schools are not currently able to supply the level of talent required on their own.
Bravo Bell Phillips - lovely scheme