How the British architecture industry is feeling the effects of Brexit


A survey reports that 90% of Britain's architecture studios feel that the Brexit has had a negative impact on their business. Photo: AFP

It's been three years since Britain broke away from the European Union, but some Brits are paying a high price for Brexit.

This is the case with architects, according to a recent survey by Dezeen.

The specialist design magazine surveyed 50 British architecture firms about their post-Brexit working conditions. The vast majority of them said these have deteriorated since Britain left the EU.

The reason? Rising construction costs and difficulties in attracting European talent. On the latter point, 70% of the companies surveyed said that it has "definitely" been more difficult to recruit architects from all over Europe in the last three years.

This phenomenon is not without consequences: 56% of British architectural firms say they have suffered a loss of staff since Brexit.

"Recruitment of architectural staff has been made more difficult as EU staff have vanished and there are not enough Britain-trained architects with relevant skills seeking work," the Sarah Wigglesworth Architects studio said.

"Salaries have risen. It is even harder for small firms to compete on salaries."

This is compounded by a certain reluctance on the part of overseas clients and architectural competitions to choose a British architectural practice. But this uncertainty does not prevent them from winning projects beyond Britain's borders.

Only 18% of the 34 studios surveyed on this subject have seen a reduction of, or even cancellation of, projects abroad in the last three years. It's no surprise, then, that 90% of British architecture studios feel that Brexit has had a negative impact on their business.

Somerset-based Invisible Studio goes even further, saying that Britain's EU exit has been "a catastrophe".

It adds: "The barriers are obvious but it is the cultural loss that is even greater. Architecture depends on cross-cultural exchange of ideas and benefits from free movement. It is staggering how diminished the British scene has become post-Brexit."

As a result, eight out of 10 British architects would now vote for the country to return to the European Union. Industry professionals are not the only ones feeling Brexit regret – a phenomenon known as "Bregret".

Nearly 60% of people in Britain now believe it was a mistake, according to political scientist John Curtice, chairman of the British Polling Council.

However, neither the current government nor the opposition is pushing for a return to the past. – AFP Relaxnews

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