Architects’ workload confidence stabilises – RIBA

Archtiects’ confidence stabilised in September but remained lower than levels recorded prior to the EU referendum in June, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends survey has revealed.

The poll, which is conducted monthly among a mix of small, medium and large firms to monitor business and employment trends, showed the Future Trends workload index was unchanged in September 2016, with a balance figure of +8.

Practices in the Midlands and East Anglia (+17) and North of England (+13) were the most optimistic about increasing work in the medium-term.

Large practices expected to see a reduction in workloads (–14). However, small and medium-sized practices expected to see workloads increase.

Private sector housing recovers

The public sector (–1) and community sector (–1) forecasts changed little in September. The outlook for public sector work remains steady rather than dynamic, with little prospect of rapid growth in overall public sector capital spending levels.

The private housing sector forecast made a significant recovery, rising to +16 (from +7 in August 2016). While moving back into positive territory, the forecast for the commercial sector remains modest at +1.

Staffing index hits zero

The RIBA Future Trends staffing index fell to zero in September 2016, with few practices expecting to increase their staffing levels over the next quarter. As with the workload index, large practices were the least optimistic about increasing staff levels.

RIBA Executive Director Members Adrian Dobson said:

“September’s survey shows a mixed picture. A small number of practices have reported a Brexit-related slow-down in projects, with some cancellations. However, many other respondents showed signs of resilience, especially in the bespoke housing market.”