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Are you and your practice prepared for Brexit?

Seven essential areas of consideration for uncertain times

24 October 2019

Since the UK’s referendum on EU membership in 2016, the RIBA has published professional features, guidance and other resources related to the political, economic and professional repercussions of Brexit for RIBA members.

The UK's exit date changed from March to October and may well change again, but many of the same issues continue to be of concern to our members. Next week, the RIBA will be publishing the ‘Practice Resilience Digest’, a document in downloadable PDF form packed with Brexit-related links to articles and advice. The following features are selections from its content.

How to apply for an EU Settlement visa 

What is the difference between ‘settled status’ and ‘pre-settled’ status? What kind of information do applicants have to provide? These and other questions are answered by Sonal Rathod, HR Manager at PLP Architecture and a member of the RIBA’s Large Practice Expert Advisory Group, in this feature. Several of her colleagues from PLP – architects who are EU nationals – share their experiences of applying.

Applications remain open for the EU Settlement Scheme, which may be applied for via a mobile app.

A new regime for construction products post-Brexit

The regulation of construction products is one among many industry-related processes that will change once the UK exits the EU. Construction products on sale in the UK are currently required to state their performance quality by the EU’s Construction Products Regulation (CPR) regime.

The UK government has set out what will happen to the assessment of construction products after the UK leaves, to ensure that they continue to be properly regulated, assessed and approved. What will this mean in practice? Dieter Bentley-Gockmann, Director of EPR Architects and Chair of the RIBA’s Regulations and Standards Expert Advisory Group, explains in this feature.

Manage your cashflow effectively

The RIBA’s monthly Future Trends surveys suggest that many of our members are feeling the pinch during the current period of economic uncertainty. One factor that is essential to a practice’s resilience is good cash flow management. Neil Boyde, Chief Financial Officer at Grimshaw, shares his insights, explaining the 13-week cash flow forecast he produces each week without fail.

The government has provided assurance that, post-Brexit, the construction products architects specify or procure will be subject to the same performance requirements. © A_E_P

Will a no-deal Brexit raise the cost of construction imports?

The likelihood of a no-deal exit from the EU has fluctuated many times over the past year. At time of writing, it remains a possibility. In this feature, Peter Caplehorn and Noble Francis of the Construction Products Association assess the potential implications for construction projects, in terms of costs, materials and workforce, of a no-deal exit.

They examine the tariffs on goods imported from the EU by the UK and what would happen should the UK begin trading using World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

Where to find free business resources

This is a challenging time for architects and their practices, whether they are just starting out or well established. However, there is a plethora of free business resources that can give practices information and support, provided by the UK government and a network of regional organisations and charities.

Architects and practice managers alike may be surprised by how much financial support, training and funding opportunities may be available to them. This feature reveals what is out there, at national and regional level.

A no-deal exit is likely to have repercussions in terms of trade tariffs, VAT, and customs delays.

Business finance in times of economic uncertainty

In this feature, Grimshaw’s Neil Boyde explains what architects need to focus on to effectively run their business during challenging economic and turbulent political periods. He explains the necessity of financial security, which is key to delivering operational stability, and the importance of building up a cash buffer if at all possible.

How to thrive in an economic downturn

Many of today’s practices, whether large or small, were in business during the UK’s last recession. Some of them were even born from its consequences.

Mark Percival, Managing Director at Architecture:M, Simon Bayliss, Managing Partner at HTA and Barbara Kaucky, Founding Director of Erect Architecture, recall and recommend methods to successfully handle an economic downturn. Remaining agile, keeping staff involved and informed, and maintaining transparency in business are just some of the points discussed.

Forecasting your cash flow for the next three months is a vital part of understanding your business’ health.

This is a Professional Feature written by the RIBA Practice team. Send us your feedback and ideas

RIBA Core Curriculum Topic: Business, clients and services.

As part of the flexible RIBA CPD programme, Professional Features count as microlearning. See further information on the updated RIBA CPD Core Curriculum and on fulfilling your CPD requirements as an RIBA Chartered Member.

Posted on 24 October 2019.

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