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Brexit joint statement

The Presidents and Directors of the five professional bodies representing architects on the islands of Britain and Ireland met to discuss the implications of the UK referendum.

The Presidents and Directors of the five professional bodies representing architects on the islands of Britain and Ireland met in Belfast earlier this week to discuss the implications of the UK referendum to leave the European Union and have released the following joint statement.

This joint statement is made on behalf of:

  • Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)
  • The Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI)
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW)
  • Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA)

“The uncertainty caused by the result of the EU referendum in the UK could have a major impact on the construction industry across these islands and we know that some building projects have been put on hold. Restoring stability and confidence as a matter of urgency will enable us to maximise the opportunities presented by the UK’s new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. It is our view that the free movement of people, goods and services throughout Europe is of paramount importance to the economic, social and environmental well-being of these islands. We call on the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as it negotiates the UK’s exit from the European Union, to protect free movement.”

Additional comment from each individual professional body

RIBA President Jane Duncan said:

“UK architecture is a resilient, flexible and innovative profession with a long and proud history. I’m confident that architects, along with our partners in the wider creative and construction industries can help deliver strong economic growth for the UK during and after Brexit. As we look outwards to the world, we will continue our work with the UK government to address the challenges and support the opportunities that arise from Brexit, including pressing for continued free movement so vital for architects' practices in the UK and the EU, and mutual recognition of qualifications.”

Paul Crowe, President of RSUA

“Unlike in other parts of the UK, the level of investment in Northern Ireland’s built environment was still significantly below pre-recession levels even before Brexit. The modest recovery we were experiencing is now in jeopardy. There are concerns that Brexit might hit Northern Ireland harder than elsewhere in the UK and we believe there is an onus on the UK Government to take account of this as it rolls out measures to mitigate the impact of Brexit. Looking ahead it is essential that some way is found to maintain free movement and free trade across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.”

Robert Firth, President of RSAW

“The Royal Society of Architects in Wales fully supports the Welsh Government in its demands that Wales should not lose out on projects and funding that would previously have resulted from our position as a region of the EU.

Architects want to play a key part in creating better places for everyone - and to engage with the Welsh Government to achieve its aims of a sustainable, vibrant country through the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Wales is a small nation with an international outlook so our cultural and economic connection with Europe will be vital for students and practitioners of architecture in the future.”

Carole Pollard, President of RIAI

"The Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland is the representative body for architects throughout the island of Ireland. There have always been strong connections between the architectural profession in Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. That connection has been built on a long tradition of movement of the profession between both jurisdictions and the cyclical nature of the construction industry has ensured a constant flow of architects throughout these islands. Free movement of people and services, particularly via the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is essential for a healthy and sustainable construction sector."

Willie Watt, President of RIAS

"Our Festival of Architecture, celebrating the RIAS' centenary this year, has reaffirmed that Scottish architecture has been greatly enriched by our close trading and cultural relationships with the UK and Europe. We join with our colleagues from throughout the UK and in the Republic of Ireland in seeking to retain and strengthen those ties."


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office +44 (0)20 7307 3761
  2. The latest policy documents from RIBA on Brexit and the implications for architects in the UK can be found here:
  3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (@RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment.

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