Transition period due to end in six weeks’ time

The RIBA and Arb have warned architects not to let covid-19 overshadow the impact of the end of the UK’s transition period with the EU in just six weeks’ time.

The pair told practices to get to grips with new rules on professional qualifications and construction material imports after trade talks between the UK and the EU wrap up on 31 December this year.


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Around 20% of the architects working in the UK come from the EU

While the negotiations are still underway, many details about the future relationship between the UK and the EU have been confirmed, including the new points-based immigration system set to come into force from January 1 2021.

The EU is currently the second largest market for the export of UK architectural services worldwide, while one fifth of architects practising in the UK originally qualified in the EU and 60% of the construction materials used on UK projects are imported from Europe.

RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance warned architects not to be distracted by the challenges of covid-19 restrictions as the end of the transition period approaches.

He said: “The profession is currently facing unprecedented challenges – responding to the global pandemic and economic slump – and on top of this, we’re also hurtling towards 31 December.

“While preparing for Brexit might not seem like a priority, especially without clarity on trade deal arrangements, it’s essential that businesses and individuals familiarise themselves with the changes that will affect the way UK architecture operates.”

Earlier this week, the government drew up a list of the top five Brexit tips for construction firms ahead of December 31.

The list included guidance on how to recruit workers from outside the UK, how to check if a visa or work permit is needed to travel to the EU for work purposes and information on export tariffs.