Temporary builds can help minimise Brexit trading risks
21 May 2018
As Werner Heisenberg observed back in 1927 with his Uncertainty Principle, it can be hard to totally grasp what’s happening in the world. But you don’t need to be a physicist to see that uncertainty has gripped the UK in the wake of Brexit, writes Spaciotempo’s Rachel Baker.
It’s all around us – never more so than in the trading conditions I’m seeing every day.
The fact is, we don’t seem to be sure about anything. Some welcome this uncertainty, arguing that leaving the EU is a gamble worth taking; others that it’s a gamble too far. This uncertainty, in turn, creates risk.
While our nation’s European and global relationships continue to spin in the air, our own growth forecasts are in flux. Will businesses move their operations from the UK to Europe? Will others be attracted by a brave new market?
Reasons to tread careful
Such uncertainty is a major factor affecting investment decision-making in our industrial markets. Many UK divisions of European businesses are wary of closure following Brexit, leading them to postpone non-essential business decisions.
In Ireland, we’ve been told that the potential for border controls – plus the lack of government in Northern Ireland for the past 18 months – is causing widespread uncertainty and nervousness. In fact, the worrying numbers of multinationals closing plants in Northern Ireland (Michelin and Caterpillar to name just two) is causing a compound effect, sending ripples of uncertainty to Ireland’s borders and beyond.
Temporary buildings mean you can see what’s right in front of you and plan for the short term, while also keeping an eye on the long term
This is just one part of the story. Brexit will also impact on trading and immigration, workforce availability and more but we’re not sure yet to what extent. And there’s the pound: our best estimates suggest it will trade down further before it recovers.
Clients are telling us that money in the bank isn’t worth having; that businesses still recovering from recession are in for a turbulent time. So, it’s understandable why they’re cautious, freezing investment.
Yet even as we’ve seen big multinationals impose a permanent buildings freeze for 2018 and 2019, they still need premises. That’s why the temporary building sector is such an effective compromise for businesses.
The advantages of a temporary building make it ideal for this uncertain time. It’s built with the technical robustness of a permanent structure, the same snow and wind loadings, and the same British standards, but with lower investment costs, faster turnaround and short-term hire.
‘Temporary’ doesn’t mean that quality suffers. Anodised aluminium frames and galvanized steel fixings deliver strength and solidity, while a range of walling and roofing options means site owners and operators can choose a style to suit specific usage.
With a reputable supplier the entire process should be managed, from site surveys to planning permission to installation, and offer a structural warranty, providing certainty throughout the life of the building.
If there’s a conclusion to be drawn, I’d say it’s all about agility. Caution is natural, but temporary buildings allow your business to stay agile and flexible, It means you can see what’s right in front of you and plan for the short term, while also keeping an eye on the long term.
At some point in the near future, Brexit nerves may give way to an emerging certainty, and by being agile and ready, you’ll be primed to jump on it and come out stronger.
When the UK’s future rests on a huge gamble, it makes sense to play the odds – but, then again, it could be said that life itself is uncertainty.
Rachel Baker, UK group marketing manager, Spaciotempo