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RIBA Future Trends Survey results for October 2011


18 November 2011

Press release contact:

Tessa Kordeczka
T: +44 (0)207 307 3761
E: Tessa.Kordeczka@riba.org


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for October 2011 shows little change in confidence about future workloads. Statistical analysis of the survey enables the RIBA to track regularly the two key indices of confidence within the profession: future workloads and staffing levels.

There was a slight rise in the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index which for October stood at -7, compared with -10 in September 2011. Practices in London remain the most optimistic about growth in workloads over the next three months, while Northern Ireland and Scotland remain the least confident about future work. As in previous months, it is the smaller (one to 10 staff) and medium-sized (11 to 50 staff) practices that are less confident.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also barely changed: down from -7 in September to -8 in October. No practice of any size predicts an increase in staffing in the next quarter. Overall staffing levels had on average declined by 7% from October 2010, which tracks a reduction of 12% in actual work in progress compared with October 2010.

One-third of those responding to the survey felt that they had personally been under-employed during October, a slightly higher percentage than in September 2011.

The public, commercial and community sector forecasts also saw little or no change. On the other hand, the private housing sector forecast recovered quite strongly, moving from – 5 in September 2011 to +5 in October 2011.

Adrian Dobson, RIBA Director of Practice, said:
'Not unexpectedly, practices continue to describe a challenging and unpredictable state of play, with increased competition for falling levels of public sector work and continuing resistance by banks to lend for development projects. Faced with this uncertain outlook, they are reluctant to recruit new staff.

But on a more positive note, the bespoke housing sector remains strong, buoyed by all-time low interest rates, and more specialised areas within healthcare and conservation also continue to perform well.' 

Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact Tessa Kordeczka in the RIBA Press Office on 020 7307 3761 or email tessa.kordeczka@riba.org
2. Completed by a mix of small, medium and large firms based on a geographically representative sample, the survey was launched in January 2009 to monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects' profession.
3. To participate in the RIBA Future Trends Survey, please contact the RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email practice@riba.org. The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all returns are independently processed in strict confidence by our partner, the Fees Bureau.
4. The definition for the workload balance figure is the difference between those expecting more work and those expecting less. A negative figure means more respondents expect less work than those expecting more work. This figure is used to represent the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index, which for October is -7.
5. The definition for the staffing balance figure is the difference between those expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and those expecting to employ fewer. A negative figure means more respondents expect to employ fewer permanent staff. This figure is used to represent the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index, which for October is -8.  


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