Brexit patchworking: the impact of continued uncertainty on the construction industry

Brexit patchworking: the impact of continued uncertainty on the construction industry


Here we are in May 2019, and, almost 3 years on, Brexit is still not sorted. Whatever your politics, you can’t help but feel “what a mess”. Industry is suffering from uncertainty, people and organisations cannot plan, budget or invest with confidence. This ripples right down from the biggest public and private investors to the smallest of SMEs, like mine.

As I have remarked before (see: The ongoing impact of Brexit on the construction industry), lack of certainty creates risk, and the construction and engineering industry looks far in advance when planning its projects, so those involved, whatever their perspective or tier, need to be able to plan. Without a coherent plan, and confidence in the plan, you simply cannot start to think to execute (let alone actually put a spade in the ground). There has never been a greater need for the ”foresight and stamina” I mentioned in that interview.  

In amongst all this uncertainty, I consider myself lucky in that, as an independent consultant to industry, I work on a wide variety of projects, with public and private clients and across broad sectors. The past 2 years I have advised on more infrastructure projects than ever before, and many are procured through NEC contracts, or on long term frameworks, where contracts are “called off” at the clients’ direction. These types of projects, and other “majo

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About the author:
Sarah Schütte is an independent UK-qualified solicitor-advocate and runs her own legal and training consultancy, Schutte Consulting Limited, based in London, UK, whose motto is "Making law work for the construction and engineering industry". Sarah has 19 years’ experience as a specialist infrastructure lawyer, including 12 years working directly for industry. She has developed a niche practice in project management, project controls and the law (PPM and P3M and PMO). She works with clients, contractors, professionals and supply chain delivery partners as a whole life project advisor, and supports them with training workshops and project facilitation sessions. SCL’s clients are based in the UK, USA and South East Asia, in addition to close collaborations with organisations in several other countries. Sarah speaks French, German and Spanish as well as English. 
Sarah focuses on putting law in its practical and purposive context: she equips her clients with the accurate knowledge and essential skills for confident and competent contract management, which tangibly improve delivery outcomes. Sarah is a regular conference speaker and media commentator. She writes the “Industry Insight” column for LexisPSL UK, is accredited by several industry and ADR associations, and contributes probono to industry initiatives to promote excellence in project delivery and the use of technology to control risk and facilitate governance. She collaborates closely with global Chapters of the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the UK Association of Project Managers (APM). Since 2016, Sarah has chaired the UK User Group for a USA-centred global project controls software company.
Sarah’s professional interests include ethics, behavioural science and collaboration, and how projects are influenced by individual behaviour and organisational culture. Her site boots and hard hat are always to hand.