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Are properties getting cheaper to construct? It seems like a straightforward query, but the reality is anything but. A recent article by the Guardian highlights how construction companies ‘want the cheapest thing possible’. So, is it that houses are not necessarily cheaper to construct, but that the companies constructing them are cutting corners and looking for the cheapest option? That’s definitely evident in new-build houses – the result is poor construction.

Brexit also didn’t help – the construction sector has faced its fair share of ups and downs. 

Below, we’ll explore some of the complexities of the UK construction industry and whether properties are becoming cheaper to construct in the UK.

The Impact of Brexit on Construction Costs

Brexit left its mark on the UK’s construction industry. The Brexit ripple effects challenged multiple industries to find ways to cut costs.

The withdrawal from the European Union triggered a cascade of changes, particularly in terms of material costs and labour availability. Import tariffs and a reduced pool of skilled labour from the EU have contributed to rising construction costs. Materials that were once easily imported now come with a hefty price tag and longer wait times. That being said, the situation is far better than it was during the 12 months following Brexit.

The uncertainty surrounding trading routes led, initially, utter chaos. Supply chains hiked prices and construction companies struggled with cash flow – is it no wonder so many are going for the cheapest option? Contractors and developers are finding themselves navigating a new landscape of higher costs and tighter margins.

Constructing for Speed and Affordability

As The Guardian article highlighted – construction companies are constructing the cheapest thing possible. But at what cost to the consumer?

While this approach might sound appealing, especially for those keen to cut down on expenses, it raises important questions about quality. There are some materials that you can’t cut down on quality with precast retaining walls, property skeletons, and insulation are to name but a few.

Cutting Corners Can Cost Quality

The adage ‘you get what you pay for’ holds particularly true in the construction world. Companies that prioritise speed and lower costs may resort to using less durable materials or simplified construction methods. This can lead to properties that don’t stand the test of time or meet the high standards of UK building regulations.

The rush to complete projects quickly can result in corners being cut, not just in materials but also in workmanship. The potential long-term costs of remedial work and maintenance on such properties could far outweigh the initial savings. As a property owner or investor, it’s crucial to weigh the benefits of short-term affordability against the potential for long-term issues.

So, are properties getting cheaper to construct in the UK? The simple answer is no, not really. Post-Brexit challenges have led to increased costs in materials and labour. While some construction companies may offer quicker, more cost-effective solutions, the risks associated with compromised quality are a significant consideration. 

As the UK continues to navigate its post-Brexit reality, the construction industry will undoubtedly adapt, but for now, the focus should perhaps be on value and quality, rather than just the bottom line.