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The Institution of Civil Engineers Institute / association Website
Last edited 17 Aug 2016

Post-Brexit vision for construction

In August 2016, Sir John Armitt, the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), issued a rallying call to the construction industry to unite around a clear post-Brexit vision.

His statement came as Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed that the sector had technically returned to recession, and construction organisations began to revisit their corporate strategies in light of Brexit uncertainty.

Sir John Armitt said:

“It is often the case with infrastructure projects that technical solutions are promoted before the clear vision and objectives are set. Promoting solutions too quickly can lead to unrealistic expectations, too firm a mind-set, and it can make it harder to agree and achieve a realistic position down the line.

“In July [2016], a cross-sector built environment leadership group was established to inform Brexit negotiators with facts and evidence on the issues that affect our ability to deliver infrastructure that supports a prosperous society and economy. This group, which I am chairing, has rightly started by taking a strategic overview of what a post-Brexit UK could achieve, and our sectors' role in contributing to that vision.”

He went on to say:

“This work will be followed by a more detailed consideration of what is needed to meet the vision – looking across infrastructure investment, skills, codes and standards, research and innovation, and procurement. All of these things will be impacted by our relationship with Europe and the wider world.

“This is an unprecedented situation. Reaching the best solution for the nation will not be quick or easy but it is the most critical challenge facing us and we must get it right.

“To do this effectively we – the infrastructure and construction industry – must speak with one clear, coherent voice. Many of us will be thinking deeply about the same issues. We should share that thinking so Government cannot accuse us of being fragmented or inwardly focused. And by working together government can be in no doubt of our opinion, commitment and support.”

Amitt said that the first stage of the work would be to identify the key issues raised by leaving the EU by September 2016, and then create detailed information on negotiating positions to assist government by the end of the year.

The Built Environment Leadership Group consists of:

  • Amanda Clack, RICS President;
  • Richard Laudy, Head of Infrastructure at Pinsent Masons;
  • Andrew Wolstenholme, Co-Chair of the Construction Leadership Council;
  • Mike Putnam, CEO and President at Skanska;
  • Geoff French, Aecom;
  • Dr Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI;
  • James Stewart, Global Infrastructure Chair at KPMG;
  • Nick Roberts, CEO UK and Europe at Atkins

In addition, working groups have been spun off to study impacts on specific areas:

  • Skills – chaired by Amanda Clack;
  • Procurement – chaired by CIOB president Paul Nash;
  • Investment and funding – chaired by James Stewart;
  • Research and innovation – chaired by Mike Putnam;
  • Standards and codes – chaired by Dr Scott Steedman.

A sixth group chaired by CIC chair Professor John Nolan aims to look broadly at the impact of Brexit from an SME perspective.

You can read Sir John Armitt’s statement here.

You can read more about the group at Overcoming the challenges of Brexit.

--The Institution of Civil Engineers

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