Changing Times

At this point it would be useful if MBS could give its readers a clear indication of how Brexit will affect the industry. Unfortunately, at the time of writing (26th March), I’m unable to offer any concrete conclusions – rather like the government itself.

Still, there are some clues. This month we have a number of articles on legislation, regulations and schemes that are impacting on building design and operation. This includes the Climate Change Levy, building labelling schemes and the review of Part L of the Building Regulations.

It feels that we are living in a limbo, waiting to find out how these areas might be affected by our exit from the EU. However, it is clear that many of the rules that we’re working to now will remain in place whatever happens. The UK has made commitments to reduce carbon emissions; and the Building Regulations are national law. They will continue to apply and to affect the construction industry for the foreseeable future.

Whatever the changes to geopolitical boundaries, businesses today operate globally. This means that the building services products we specify in the UK are more than likely to be made in Europe and further afield. Performance measurements and accreditations will have to continue to be harmonised in some way.

As CIBSE’s Hywel Davies explains (see our feature page 24) the British Standards Institute (BSI) will remain a member of the European standards body CEN, which is a private organisation outside of the EU. So European and UK standards have a good chance of remaining closely related.

Construction clients are also faced with rising energy costs, and many will face higher taxation via the Climate Change Levy. This means that they will still be looking for energy efficient ways to reduce their energy use, and to demonstrate carbon reductions with sustainable technology. Even if legislation changes, the market would continue to be a strong driver towards better building performance.

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