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Brexit vote: What you need to know

Brexit vote: What you need to know

16 January 2019

What happened?

Yesterday Parliament voted to reject the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK government and the European Union last November; leaving the UK in an urgent and unprecedented situation.

The government must now come back to parliament within three working days to inform them what it plans to do next and how it intends to address MPs’ concerns. If the government cannot come to an alternative Brexit agreement ahead of 29 March 2019, which is supported by a majority of MPs, there is a risk of a no deal outcome where the UK leaves with no arrangement in place.

What does this mean for architecture?

As the RIBA’s statement on yesterday’s vote makes clear, no deal would be a disaster for UK architecture. We know that many members have experienced projects put on hold as uncertainty over Brexit continues to damage the investment climate, and that many European architects living in the UK are still uncertain about their future.

RIBA has called on the government and parliament to seek an extension to the Article 50 process without delay to allow MPs and ministers to make a concerted attempt to reach a deal. RIBA has been clear that this deal must avoid a damaging cliff-edge Brexit, preserve vital arrangements like the mutual recognition of architects’ professional qualifications, and give the sector the certainty we have been calling for since the Brexit vote.

What should architects do next?

We have produced guidance for architects and practices on the implications of a no-deal Brexit. The government’s own technical notices make clear that under this outcome, there would be immediate and significant changes to the procedures that apply to businesses trading with and doing business in Europe. For example, the free circulation of goods between the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) would cease and UK businesses providing services, including architectural services, in the EEA would no longer be covered by the EU Services Directive. Architects with EU qualifications would also cease to be covered by MRPQ under the EU Professional Qualifications Directive.

RIBA is advising practices who do business or have operations in the EU to consider how these changes would affect their business model and take action if necessary, if they have not done so already. Our guidance for practices outlines the things you may need to consider. We are also advising architects with EU qualifications to take steps to register with the Architects Registration Board, if they have not already, before 29 March.

What will RIBA be doing?

Over the coming weeks, the RIBA will continue to do everything possible to get an outcome that works for architecture. We will continue to keep our members up to date with the latest intelligence, advice, guidance and opportunities available. You can read RIBA CEO Alan Vallance’s letter to members for more information.

If members wish to contact their own Members of Parliament in response to the vote, they can find out who represents them here. You can find out more about the RIBA's policy positions on Brexit and the work we've been doing here.

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