According to RIBA’s chief executive, Canadian architects will have better access to EU markets than their British counterparts after Brexit. Alan Vallance said British architects would be potentially the “most disadvantaged”. He was addressing MPs on the Exiting the EU Select Committee along with other business leaders last week.

Uncertainty was the biggest problem and was already causing projects to be put on hold, he said but he also talked of the damage tariffs could do and warned that mutual recognition of qualifications remained a key issue. “UK architecture is a global powerhouse. It exports £500m of services a year, albeit about 23% of that goes to the EU,” he said.

According to an article on,uk, Vallance welcomed the UK government’s decision in January to protect EU architects’ ability to work in the UK, but warned things were not so clear in the other direction. He said it was not certain that EU guidance to its member states on recognising UK qualifications carried any legal weight. “If we don’t have those arrangements in place with other jurisdictions, we can’t start to plan to replace [the £73m of work predicted to be lost to Brexit] now.

“Those recognitions could exist relatively easily,” he added, in a dig at the regulator. “It relies on Arb, under the guidance of MHCLG, to make those steps happen. We would very much welcome getting on and putting those plans in place because that would be a major building block to start to build trade [post-Brexit].” Holding up a four-page mutual recognition agreement between America and Canada, he said out of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the latter four have a mutual recognition agreement in place.

Denise Maguire
Irish Construction Industry Magazine