One of the largest building operators says Brexit puts construction projects at risk
March 24, 2017

Kier, one of Britain’s biggest building and construction operators, has warned that uncertainties over Brexit and the return of inflation could mean delays on big infrastructure projects. Haydn Mursell, chief executive of Kier, has announced that the flow of business, from building tower blocks and power stations to roads and rail lines, could all be affected by the current uncertainties – “I think Brexit has created a distraction for government; as a consequence, the focus on deployment of capital for large infrastructure jobs will not be as high as it would have been.” In addition, large private developers were having to consider future projects in the light of rising inflation – “Brexit has introduced uncertainty over labour availability; labour inflation will creep up over the next two years [and] large capital value projects will be slower to market because they will cost more.” Mr. Mursell stressed that there had not yet been significant hold-ups caused by Brexit but some projects such as HS2, the high speed rail link, had experienced delays , possibly because of its complexity. Carillion, another provider of support services and construction work, announced recently there had been “some inertia in residential and commercial buildings and infrastructure” and delays in decisions on public spending since the vote to leave the EU. However, Mr. Mursell said the uncertainty over Brexit had led to gains for Kier’s property business, as the market slowdown had allowed it to buy schemes at good prices. He added that the market remained positive for recurring public sector work, as well as for smaller infrastructure projects.

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