07 December 2017

The RIBA has commissioned Frontier Economics to conduct an economic analysis of how architecture contributes to the UK economy through exports, and estimate the impact on the sector of Brexit.

This new research, 'Global Talent, Global Reach', shows how the UK’s position as a global architectural hub, attracting the very best talent from across the EU and earning more from exports than any other EU nation, is at risk if Brexit makes it significantly harder to trade with and access skills from the EU.

Architecture contributes £4.8 billion to the UK economy every year – with revenue from international work reaching up to £500 million in 2016 alone. In a ‘No Deal’ Brexit scenario, the total impact of lost export earnings from around the world could be £73 million a year.

Despite the economic risks of Brexit, there is potential for new growth in UK architecture services outside of the EU. The UK vastly outperforms the rest of the EU in global exports and is a global hub in a way that no other EU architecture sector can match. Striking a services trade agreement with the likes of China, the USA, India and the UAE could yield minimum returns of £54 million in its first year, setting the stage for further growth of the sector in new markets.

'Global Talent, Global Reach' recommends immediate steps to protect British architecture during Brexit negotiations, calling for:

  • A post-Brexit immigration system which continues to allow businesses to access the best global talent from the EU and the rest of the world
  • Continued mutual recognition of architects’ professional qualifications with the EU and new mutual recognition agreements for architects in markets like the USA, Canada, Australia and China
  • A Brexit deal with the EU that maintains market access and avoids non-tariff barriers, and new services trade agreements with large markets to open new opportunities for UK architecture
  • The Department for International Trade to expand the scope and range to support medium and small sized businesses to expand internationally.
Download Global Talent, Global Reach (.pdf, 1Mb) on Architecture.com