As Britain prepares for Brexit, many in the construction and scaffolding industry are seeking guidance on how they will be affected. Although many questions remain unanswered, Gilray Plant has brought together what we know so far on what the impact of Brexit may be on the scaffolding industry.
Brexit and the Scaffolding Industry
So far, there are not many obvious changes taking place due to Brexit in the scaffolding industry. References to the EU have been removed from UK websites and documentation, but this is perhaps one of the only differences we see at this point. What happens after 31st Dec 2020 is still unclear but the main concerns in the industry focus on health and safety regulation, how costs will be affected by the outcome of trade talks, and additional customs charges or delays.
Health and Safety
One of the main concerns that many in the construction industry and scaffolding space have voiced is the issue of retaining high standards of health and safety regulation. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guaranteed the construction and scaffolding industry that there will be no change to regulations that would negatively affect workers. The HSE states, “Health & Safety protections, and your duties to protect the health and safety of people, will not change with Brexit.”
Even before this statement was made by the HSE, construction and scaffolding companies around the UK declared that even in the event of a relaxation of regulations that they would still uphold the health and safety standards of the pre-Brexit industry.
Gilray Plant manufactures high-quality timber scaffolding boards as part of our one-stop shop of scaffolding equipment, so it was important for us to understand the impact of Brexit on the timber trade. Although trade discussions are still ongoing, it has been made clear that the UK will no longer be part of a customs union with the EU. The biggest change here for traders is the fact that VAT and excise procedures will be applied, just in the same way they are currently applied to goods traded outside of the EU.
If no deal is reached, timber trading will go to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules which do not have a tariff on sawn timber. However, there are still questions remaining around increased transport costs due to customs paperwork and delays at ports.
In addition to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic has created an enormous rise in the demand for timber during Lockdown. This has resulted in a shortage of timber worldwide and sharp upward pressure on prices, with sawmills being reluctant to commit to large orders for 2021.
Despite all the economic turbulence within the timber trade at present, Gilray Plant will strive to continue to provide the highest quality scaffold boards and other wholesale scaffold equipment to our customers as we have done over the last 50 years. Please contact us for more information about our scaffolding equipment and services.