The construction industry could lose 8% of its workforce if the UK opts for a hard Brexit by leaving the single market, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors warned.
Leaving the single market would put 176,500 jobs under threat for an industry that already faces skills shortages.
Jeremy Blackburn, RICS head of UK policy, said: “The UK construction industry is currently dependent on thousands of EU workers.
“It is in all our interests that we make a success of Brexit, but a loss of access to the single market, has the potential to slowly bring the UK’s £500bn infrastructure pipeline to a standstill.
“That means that unless access to the single market is secured or alternative plans are put in place, we won’t be able to create the infrastructure needed to enable our cities to compete on a global stage.
“We have said before that this is a potential stumbling block for the government, which is working to deliver both its Housing White Paper and industrial strategy.”
RICS has put together a Brexit wishlist calling on the government to put interim, transitionary arrangements in place to avoid any potential ‘cliff edge’.
It said the government must focus on developing the next generation of home grown talent and access to a skilled international workforce.
RICS also urged the government to seek out and attract private investors to improve productivity and regional rebalancing in the UK, while it called for an agreement on “passporting” of professional services, including chartered surveyors, which it said is essential for global UK-based real estate firms.