There has been a lot of noise in the industry recently around materials shortages which are linked to the effects of Covid, but sight should not be lost of the difficulties many businesses (particularly SMEs) face exporting and importing goods to and from the UK as a result of Brexit. Apart from possible issues on certification of construction materials as commented on by my colleague Brad Fearn (see below), they are dealing with increased 'red tape', additional administrative costs and higher prices to cover new non-tariff barriers. This does little to assuage pre-Brexit concerns that the rising cost of EU imports might lead to the supply of certain materials to UK business becoming financially unviable, with knock on effects on procurement costs.
Construction and supply contracts should continue expressly to deal with the price and time risks posed by Brexit (as well as Covid-19) rather than leaving it to be addressed when a problem arises post contract. Parties currently negotiating contracts should therefore take care to consider and agree how Brexit related events will be dealt with by the contract in time and money terms. It is clear that the impact of Brexit will be felt by the industry for some time, so now is not the time to abandon those Brexit clauses that became common pre-Brexit and before attention turned to Covid.