What Brexit Means… for the construction industry?

After March 2019 on the 29th, the UK will be leaving the European Union. This crazy decision by the ill-informed British public will cause many unknown its negative effects. Some people will benefit financially as they are probably betting on Brexit. What I mean by that is that they will be betting against the British pound a bit like George Soros did on the financial crash. I have no problem with George Soros he is done a lot for charity and other good causes. He was just informed where you could invest as money very wisely if not a little unethical. If you make a gamble and you benefit from the results of your gamble. Why the hell not?

As a French-based business, I don’t think my industry will be too affected by Brexit.

I’m sure that when people voted for Brexit. They did not understand or have an inkling of a clue what the effects of this departure for the European Union would be. As Donald Tusk said in 2019,”I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like, for those who promoted #Brexit, without even a sketch of a plan how to carry it out safely.”

As an unfortunate British citizen who fortunately lives in France. We are obviously concerned about the outcome of Brexit and how it affects our business. But I don’t think it will cause many problems for our services to French citizens.

PEFC timber tool handles

PEFC brexit handles

PEFC certifies Wallybois’s timber

The reason for this is that we use timber that is certified by the PEFC. Most of our timber is locally sourced and if it’s not local it’s most certainly certified. as somebody who believes in our environment, I believe in the efforts made by the European Union and those who believe in our planet.

Wood is a simple material that harbours many situations!

Some might say it’s just wood. The problem with exporting wood two other countries and that includes within the European Union. Is that it is a material that can harbour various diseases funguses and insects. It is important for the European Union and other countries to control the distribution of these conditions. As an example, while working on numerous occasions we have found insect damage or even insects alive in timber. Chopping larvae to bits while passing our planer. Even though this timber is from a certified source. It is difficult for these industries to be 100% certain that the timber is free from pests.

Beetles and Larvae love Brexit

To be 100% certain that the timber does not contain insect larvae. Inspections by qualified and certified professionals before packaging is required. Bugs being bugs they tend to crawl until they are happy with their habitat. The Beetles will stop burrow and lay larvae. Limiting the time between production and final destination will greatly reduce the risk of infestation. Delays caused by the border checks could increase the risk of infection of parasites.

woodworm larvae and brexit

woodworm larvae

Packaged Timber is generally bug-free!

I’ve never found insects harbouring in packaged Timber. The reason for this probably because of the kiln drying process and rapid packaging. There is little chance for parasites to bore into the timber.

Parasites without a free ride

As an example about exporting insects. A friend of ours who producers fence posts. You know the ones that are round or the split ones which you will find on farm stock fencing. For instance, the importing of these fence posts into Holland has strict rules.

The distributors have to comply with any rules set within their own countries environmental policies as well as the European Union. When these posts are exported before they can even go on the lorry they must not carry any bark. The reason for this is that insects tend to live between the bark and the Cambium layer of trees. So the posts go through a machine that strips the bark clean off the post.

Customs checks  of timber

we already know that the customs at Dover or Calais do not have enough customers officials to check imports and exports. The reason for this is there has been no need for them because of the power of three situations has been a member of the European Union. now we know but for the importation exportation of meat products, there are not enough veterinarians in the whole of the European Union to check all the meat being transported. A similar problem applies to the importation and exportation of timber. Timber will also need checks to protect each side of the border from cross-contamination or insect infiltration.

martin whitfield mp and failing GraylingGovernment’s tend to give unsubstantiated promises

In 2018 David Rutley MP committed himself to the strengthening of the timber trade. brexit has instigated many discussions regarding various Industries including the timber industry.

They say that they consider the timber industry as a priority. this kind of rhetoric isn’t always helping it gives a false sense of security. Because they made no reference to the fact that the negotiation requires both parties to agree ( UK and the European Union). it is not just the people at the top of the European Union that has to agree but the 27 other member states.

Martin Whitfield MP, can we trust the politicians?

Martin Whitfield MP who’s the chair of the all-party parliamentary group for the timber Industries strongly made his point in Parliament.  He wanted to know that when we leave European Union timber imports will clear Customs as I have done under frictionless trade.

One reason for his concern was that the prime minister Theresa May has made promises that they will build many more homes to meet the growing housing demands. It is unlikely that the construction industry will be able to sustain housing projects.

The traditional and new Hitech building techniques seem to require a steady import of timber. Most of this timber comes from northern Europe such as Finland.

The UK is dependent on European timber

90% of the timber used in the house building industry comes from countries all across Europe. Post Brexit they will be serious issues regarding importation affecting the constant supply of timber. There may be delays in construction of housing not by Design but by accident.

Charity starts at home!

Many promises have been made by David Rutley MP timber industry but he forgets he’s not in control. It is clear to me that in times where there is a lack of supply the European Union will prioritise member countries. This could leave the UK without adequate timber supply.  personally, I would not blame the European Union for doing this as it’s it’s a responsibility to look after its members. After all, they haven’t left us what you have left them.

it’s not just the house building industry that will find itself in a bit of a mad one but we have to remember that this industry provides 10 billion to the UK economy every single year and it was growing. you cannot deny or try to mask the fact that the UK is very dependent upon the European Union.

It is easy to hoodwink the officials

David Hopkins said, (director: Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI)).

“I am glad that the Government understands the indispensable role our industry plays in the UK construction sector and the wider economy.”

The UK will abide by the rules post Brexit

The government has committed to carrying on using the EUTR which is the EU timber regulation and the  EU Forest law enforcement governance and trade FLEGT.

You can read more about it here

Post Brexit notices as published by the UK and European Preparedness notice. The European notices are more thorough.  In the UK notices it does not specifically mention timber importing but the importing of plant materials and products. I assume this includes the importation of timber and timber products.

The UK Brexit notices do mention wood packaging materials as a controlled imported material. It doesn’t specifically say anywhere about importing or exporting wooden products or raw materials. I believe Defra is involved with the implementation of any regulation regarding the importation of timber. it surprises me that the UK has not made more effort in this area. As timber is the lifeblood of the UK construction industry. The house building industry will not survive without imported softwoods.

I can remember the wooden product shortages of the mid-2000s. These shortages caused real issues and the EU controlled the outcome by sharing allocations across 28 countries. The shortage really affected the fencing industry.

In 2018 we have seen big increases in timber prices and unavailability.

The importation of round wood into the UK. Such as poles or logs for milling. The UK will see big shortages and this will Halt many related industries. in November of 2018, we have seen many sawmills having to shut down early for the winter because of lack of supply. Obviously, this will have a huge effect on the construction industry.

Not new rules but will be more evident

The EU has stated that any timber products imported into the European Union countries will require to be treated. I’m not sure how this will be possible for products that that are ecological.

Wooden toys and chemicals!

Children’s wooden toys, for instance, will not be possible to import if they have to be treated for pest infestation. I don’t know about you but frankly, personally, I would not want my kids playing with toys that contain pesticides or fungicides.

China manages to import

I suppose these wooden toys that are imported from China as an example must also comply. with that in mind, there’s obviously a solution. Maybe somebody can comment below if they know what that is.

The UK will also find difficulty in importing materials such as exotic hardwoods for instance. Many of these hardwoods travel Overland and then by the ports of France are shipped to the UK. The availability of these timbers will be reduced.

Big increases in cost because of Brexit

It is no secret that Brexit will cause massive cost implications. I believe this even if there is a deal but the cost of imported timbers will increase. There is such uncertainty at the moment. Especially considering I write this on the 3rd of March 2019 with less than a month to go to Brexit.

Transportation a lack of drivers for timber lorries

Much of the UK import of timber is distributed on the back of a lorry. These lorries obviously have drivers who drive via European Union rules which have been voted on by member states. UK driving licences, for instance, may no longer be valid. obviously driving licence validity will be a priority for the European Union and other countries so it should get sorted positively. British drivers can apply for international driving permits for planned journeys.

The problem is there’s just not enough time to organise treaties across the countries. I believe it will happen but when would new treaties be ratified.

Driving licences are not just a concern for the lorry drivers but also for everybody who likes to travel.

Licences are not the only concern I’ve spoken to many European lorry drivers. European lorry drivers have told me that they are refusing to take on contracts for distribution of any products let alone wood. The reason for this was that they cannot afford to have their lorries sitting in traffic.

I say traffic I mean a road based car park. The delays caused by Brexit at the ferry terminals such as Dover will cause huge tailbacks. And a cumulative problem with many knock-on issues. The delays will increase costs to the end user. It will be the people who pay the price by increased costs.

Image result for wto tariffs wood

Brexit and WTO timber imports

Luckily WTO tariffs aren’t too bad for the timber industry with tariffs up to 10%. Unlike food based imports exports by the WTO excessive. For instance logs for the timber mill have no tariff yes it is 0%. Data on tariffs sourced by TTF.

UK VAT on timber imports

Thank the lord that the UK government has stated that they will not impose immediately or advance VAT payments on timber imports. As I read it I believe that the UK government will include imported VAT within the VAT declaration for UK VAT registered businesses.

The conclusion of the Brexit Referendum and the House Building

The people hoodwinked by the “flatulent beery breath of Nigel Farage” will be the exact same people who will be negatively affected by Brexit. All the things that the Brexiters wanted to change will only get more entrenched. Housing is just one of the major issues that the British people have to deal with. House prices due to inflation already too high and over people’s ability to borrow and rents are ridiculous.

The question ‘Why is Brexit is good’? will never be answered. The only good thing that has come from Brexit is the enthusiasm to understand politics by the young and old!

This referendum or should I call it a “Fraudarendum?” was voted by many who did not understand the consequence of the Brexit vote.  Cognitive dissidence is the only answer to the stubbornness of the leave voters.

Post-Brexit it is clear to me that the costs of construction will be increased. This is not something that we can deny any longer or say is just scaremongering these are just the facts. You will be paying more for everything.

Why Do I Write these?

We write these articles for fun and hope you find them of interest. The topic of Brexit is a large one with 3.6 million searches on Google every month. O searches each month for ‘Brexit Timber’ or ‘Brexit Wood’ which to me is just denial of the extent of the problem. I will be updating this topic on a regular basis so please return to keep a check on things.


I am happy to inform you that we have included some links to related products. If you decide to purchase any product we receive a modest commission and thank you for your support.

About Us, I Suppose You Might Be Interested?

We have lived and worked here in the Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine since 2010, building window shutters and external doors. Our Volet manufacturing business is based at our home property as a ‘Cottage Industry’. We are a small business operating partly off the grid and try our best to practice our woodworking ethically.

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