As the UK and EU transition period ends this year, Brexit will have profound effects on the home improvement sector and potential implications for your business.
Ireland’s construction industry is highly integrated with the UK. For example, figures from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) reveal that 30% of wood products used in Irish construction and nearly 50% of imported plumbing and electrical fitting and prefabricated building product is imported from the UK.
Following are some questions we answer for tradesmen before the transition period ends and a new trading relationship begins with the UK starting 1st January 2021.
1. How dependent is your supply chain with the UK ?
If your supply chain is UK dependent, then construction products imported from the UK could experience delays, new duties and customs paperwork.
If you are importing from other EU countries that pass through the UK landbridge then you should plan for delays of goods, particularly in the first quarter of 2021.
Although, there has been an increase in freight sailing routes from Ireland to mainland europe via France and more capacity on routes, this will not be a substitute for the speed and ease of the UK/Ireland landbridge.
If a project you are currently working or quoting is dependent on product from the UK, now is a good time to consider possible supply alternatives to mitigate against increased costs and delays.
2. Will UK construction products still be EU compliant?
Brexit could mean possible divergence between the UK and EU requirements for product safety.
The UK will introduce the UKCA mark (a new UK product certification markings) which will only be relevant for goods being placed in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland).
Products placed on the market in Northern Ireland (and the EU), will continue to be CE marked regardless of their origin.
Due to the possible differences between the UK and EU standards, it will be necessary to check if UK products sourced for Irish construction projects are EU certified and do not breach EU health and safety or environmental protection standards.
3. What are my legal rights if a dispute arises with a UK party?
The UK will cease to be bound by EU law once the transition period ends on 31st December.
As the UK will no longer form part of the EU recognition and enforcement system the Irish Commercial Court system will no longer be directly effective in the UK.
However, commercial arbitration cases and the enforcement of arbitral awards outside UK borders will likely be governed by the New York Conventions (which the UK remains a signatory) where you can seek redress.
If disputes arise, try to not engage in UK law or allow for disputes to be resolved in the UK.
4. Is your project at risk of increased costs and delays?
The threat of increased costs and delays may impact your contractual obligations in 2021.
A review of projects and potential of issues concerning UK supplies, rising costs or possible delays may be necessary to minimise or guard against any potential conflict between owner and yourself.
5. Will trade professionals with UK qualifications continue to be recognised in Ireland?
The recognition of UK qualification in Ireland from the 1st of January will no longer be covered by the EU’s Professional Qualifications Directive.
Individual Irish regulators and authorities have been working to prepare for this change.
For example, those working with F-Gas equipment such as heat pumps and electrical switchgear who currently hold UK certifications will need to recertify in order to continue to operate.
Individuals with UK F-gas certificate/qualification will be allowed to continue for a six-month period from 1st January but should apply for recertification during the first 4 months of this period.
Similarly, reciprocal agreements have already been finalised for engineers who have achieved a registered professional title in either the UK or Ireland to be recognised and able to work in both the Republic of Ireland and the UK post-Brexit.
If you are sub-contracting or hiring trained professionals from the UK you will need to be aware of the recognition of qualifications based on EU law and contact professional bodies to ensure you are hiring based on the right to practice.
Onlinetradesmen provides work and business support to qualified tradesmen across Ireland. Request a callback from one of our representatives to see how it will work for your business.