With the transition period after Brexit coming to an end this year, RSUA has written to Ministers in the Department for the Economy and the Department of Finance with a number of concerns relating to access to markets and potential regulatory barriers.
Members will be aware of the RSUA Brexit Task Group established in 2018 and the work undertaken to try to understand the likely consequence of Brexit for architects in Northern Ireland, to help members prepare, and to identify actions the NI Executive could take to mitigate against any negative impacts of Brexit on the work of architects.
RSUA has raised the fact that whilst architects based in Northern Ireland work across the islands of Ireland and Britain a number of local practices rely heavily on the Republic of Ireland market for work. In particular, RSUA understands that an online tool has been developed which helps service providers – such as architects – to identify the regulatory barriers which are likely to apply in a variety of scenarios and is seeking this tool be published on the Department for the Economy website as a matter of urgency.
Additionally access to public contracts in the Republic of Ireland was raised given practices are on multi-year frameworks and are concerned they will be disadvantaged after Brexit. Furthermore, concern was expressed that NI architects could be discriminated against in future procurements and would not have the same protections as are currently in place.
RSUA has requested that Ministers seek agreement with their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland to ensure architects in either jurisdiction can win public contracts across the island with the same protections as currently exist. RSUA has been liaising with RIAI and offered to arrange a meeting between both organisations and government departments if required.