Architects’ confidence dips in February’s RIBA Future Trends survey

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends workload index dipped in February 2017, falling from +24 in January to +16.

London-based practices were again cautious about future workloads (balance figure +10), along with those in the South East (+three). Practices in the North of England remained the most optimistic (increasing to +39), with Wales and the West also positive (+22).

Practices of all sizes reported a dip in workload expectations but medium-sized practices (11–50 staff) saw the most dramatic decline in the workload index (falling from +50 in January to +17 in February).

The private housing sector forecast increased slightly to +23. Forecasts for both the public sector and community sector stood in negative territory; the commercial sector outlook fell slightly but remained positive.

The RIBA Future Trends staffing index increased marginally to +nine in February (up from +eight in January); seven per cent of practices expect to employ fewer staff in three months’ time. Five per cent of practices had reported staff redundancies as a result of the EU referendum outcome.

Medium-sized practices were again the most confident about retaining or increasing existing staff levels (balance figure +31), followed by large (+14) and small practices (+six).

RIBA Executive Director Members, Adrian Dobson, said:

“Despite several years of growth in demand for architectural services, competition is intense with many practices still experiencing low fee levels. However, with a majority of practices expecting to sustain and grow staffing levels over the next quarter, the employment market for salaried architects remains healthy.”