What Impact Will Brexit Have on the Plumbing and Heating Industry?
Now that Boris Johnson has been announced as the next Prime Minister, the focus is firmly on Brexit and the impact that it will have for UK businesses. With the huge cloud of uncertainty about the knock-on effects of a no-deal Brexit, many business owners are quite justifiably concerned about whether their livelihood is at risk. Installers, plumbers and heating businesses are all showing signs that they are worried about what Brexit means to them, so we have had an in-depth look at the potential impact for our industry to provide you with some information that could help you prepare for any changes:
Price of equipment/components
Like other industries, there are concerns around how prices of equipment and raw materials that are sourced from outside the UK will be affected. UK trade deals will no longer be regulated by EU guidelines which could lead to increased costs of imported materials.
Many manufacturers of heating and plumbing products are outside of the UK, meaning that the industry could be facing uncertain times as plumbing businesses deal with the prospect of higher-priced materials. Everyday plumbing products such as pumps, pipes, fittings, valves and radiators could all be impacted, although at this stage it is not known whether prices will fluctuate, or by how much.
Health and Safety Regulations
Many that voted for Brexit did so as an opportunity to “lift the red tape” and regain control over some of the complicated regulations and legislation that affects businesses. Health and Safety regulations have been heavily speculated about in relation to Brexit, with debates over whether it would be a good idea to have greater control over policies that affect business operations.
In reality, it’s unlikely that there will be any changes in Health and Safety regulations, except for small changes to remove reference to the EU. With the UK having established a reputation as being a world-leader in standards of Health & Safety, it’s unlikely we’d be looking to change these standards and risk negative impacts on trade and investment.
Unlikely to affect smaller businesses, many larger plumbing and heating companies have historically recruited skilled plumbing and heating engineers from Eastern Europe. With potentially more restrictions on the free movement of workers from Europe, this could give more opportunities for British tradesman.
As a result, the decrease in the number of skilled plumbing and heating installers will see an increase in demand and could increase salaries dramatically. For all sizes of businesses, the Apprenticeship Levy is likely to play a key role in helping businesses take on trainees and get workers with necessary skill levels.
However, the knock-on effect of this is the affordability of projects. At a time where the UK desperately needs to expand its housing, schools and ageing infrastructure, an increase to the cost of both materials and labour could affect the nation’s ability to carry out these important works. An increased price point for these facilities could potentially affect all of our lives.
The true impact of Brexit on UK businesses is still uncertain and whilst we can speculate as to what may happen, until the next stage is completed we won’t have any more information to build an idea of what post-Brexit looks like for plumbing and heating businesses.
However, by being aware of these potential imported material cost fluctuations and the impact of restrictions on overseas recruitment, you can at least start reviewing and planning for how your business could be impacted.