All of the various raw material components that make up our finished façade systems product are imported from other EU countries – because there are no UK manufacturers that are suitable - leaving the EU without a deal could have disastrous consequences for us

Brian Newell BW 2018

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I am the CEO and owner of a UK based business which designs and manufactures off-site prefabricated façade systems for the external ‘envelopes’ of buildings.

The materials that we use for the external finishes for our facades are either large format porcelain, natural stone or engineered (agglomerated) stone, because these materials are non-combustible and are therefore, the most suitable for use on high-rise residential buildings. 

Our primary support systems are aluminium.

All of the various raw material components that make up our finished product are imported from other EU countries – why? – because there are no UK manufacturers – ‘none’ – of porcelain tiles or panels, or agglomerated stone, or natural quarried stone suitable for our façade systems.

So, leaving the EU without a sensible deal, could prove to be a disaster for this business.

Our ‘just in time’ raw material procurement policy would have to change to a ‘stockpiling’ policy (for which we simply do not have the storage space) and which, in itself, will incur additional capital costs, not to mention the increasing cost of raw materials that will result from the inevitable further devaluation of Sterling against the Euro/USD, if the UK doesn’t agree a satisfactory exit deal with the EU.

I am also a Director of The Tile Association which represents the whole of the UK ceramic tile industry – manufacturers, distributors, retailers and installers – and I can confirm that, other than one or two small artisan producers, there are NO manufacturers of ceramic floor tiles in the UK – none – they are all imported – the vast majority coming from other EU countries, so consider my company’s potential problems, multiplied by the thousands of other businesses operating in the UK ceramic tiles sector.

All this, combined with the now clear to see post-Brexit vote slowdown in new commercial building investment, is a recipe for a ‘perfect storm’ which will not only hit my business, but the UK construction industry as a whole - if we end up with no deal!

Brian Newell is CEO and owner of Shackerley (Holdings) Group Ltd

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