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The AJ on Brexit: 10 predictions


Following the nation’s landmark decision to leave the European Union, the AJ provides some clues about what comes next

1. Projects will stop. Within minutes of the Brexit news, Daniel Minsky, who works with a boutique investment and development agency in London, was told that a proposed land deal had been pulled. The buyer withdrew at 7.05am this morning because they felt the residential value ‘was too risky’.

2. Trade with Europe could be hit. This was the number one concern among AJ readers surveyed via the AJ website in April, with 75 per cent of the 570 taking part citing it as their biggest worry. Everything here depends on the settlement the UK now strikes with the EU on trade and Britain’s access to the single market.

3. Practices will be looking at the passports of their employees. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, whose workforce consists of more than 40 per cent non-British EU citizens, said it was worried for its staff. Brexit, they said, signalled ‘a new, less open Britain’ for its employees, and a decision ‘that may lead to real and practical changes in their lives’.

4. Decisions will have to be made about where building materials come from. The clay for the 336,000 bricks on Tate Modern extension came from Germany. It is a concern RIBA president Jane Duncan has already raised.

5. House prices will fall as market confidence dips – an undoubted plus for millennials trying to get on the housing ladder. Property consultant Knight Frank says this could be ‘relatively swift’, however the long-term picture is less clear. As prices plunge, this ‘massive discount’ could mean an increase in purchases by foreign buyers, particularly in the capital.

6. OJEU, described by consultant Blackstock as the ‘the much-hated directive governing public procurement’, should disappear. This is good news for smaller firms without a huge turnover that want to bid for a wealth of projects currently off limits.

7. Procurement red tape, however, may not disappear. In April, RCKa founding director Russell Curtis, a campaigner for better procurement and a former chair of the RIBA’s procurement reform group, commented that it was actually UK authorities’ ‘gold-plating’ of EU legislation that has made the process so bureaucratic and has created barriers to smaller firms.

8. A second referendum on Scottish independence now appears a given and questions will be raised about the status of Northern Ireland, which also voted Remain. Alan Dickson, an architect at Rural Design on the Isle of Skye, said: ‘My view last time that was that we were better off in, but when you look at the map of how the UK voted, I now see major cultural differences with the rest of the UK.’

9. The green agenda will likely be further damaged. Energy performance rules, which are governed by the EU under the Energy Performance in Buildings Directive, could be increasingly ignored and questions will be raised about the continuing ability of multiple nations to strike major deals on cutting carbon such as last year’s COP 21 agreement in Paris.

10. Boris Johnson is set to be our next prime minister. Johnson is now the bookies’ favourite to replace David Cameron at Number 10, leapfrogging chancellor George Osborne. Johnson, the former London mayor and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, is particularly well known to AJ readers for his much-criticised backing of Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge.


Readers' comments (3)

  • 1. If projects are being stopped surely this is just narrow mindedness and short sighted?
    2. German CBI have stated EU would be "very, very foolish" to cease trade with the UK
    3. Anyone with a valid passport and meets entry requirements will surely be ok?
    4. We should be specifying materials as close to the project site to reduce carbon footprint
    5. House prices are swings and roundabouts - your house value may go down but so will the one you want to buy
    6. Farewell OJEU - no more delays in needless additional tendering procedures and freedom to specify what the client actually wants
    7. Easier to negotiate reduction in red tape with one authority
    8. An independent Scotland would have bigger consequences now for a smaller "UK"
    9. No reason why the green should stall - if it does then again easier to vote in parties who will do something about it.
    Depends how important it is to the electorate
    10. Behind the apparent "buffoonery" that surrounds Boris Johnson scratch the surface and he does speak sense (well some at least)

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  • Ben Derbyshire

    As Norman Foster would have it; 'the only constant is change'. The world already feels a different place this Monday morning by comparison with the one we left last Friday night. And the changes have only just begun. So, since change is a certainty in this uncertain world, I feel all the more justified in urging the RIBA to adopt change as a central plank of my campaign to be its President.

    The Institute faces significant financial and organisational restructuring simply to remain in sound health. I'm for capitalising on that, in a changing world, to transform its culture to one which champions architects, wherever and however they practice in pursuit of its charitable purpose of advancing architecture. I'm calling for architects to re-take their Institute and become, one again, the voice of the profession.
    Read my manifesto at www.FutuRIBA.co.uk

    Ben Derbyshire Chair, HTA Design LLP

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Change. Exactly.

    -the only constant since the birth of this planet, has been continuous change. Nothing stands still, that's why we evolved into the bizarre freaks we are (for a short while at this point in time nevertheless).

    If a creative vocation such as Architecture cannot embrace and adapt to any change thrown in our path, shame on us.

    Stop moping, panicking, and hiding under the bed.
    Deal with it, and make the world a better place yourselves.

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