The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the November Future Trends Survey, the monthly member survey which offers an insight into the health of the architecture profession.
The RIBA Future Trends Workloads Index for November 2012 was +1, falling somewhat from +7 in the previous month. Medium sized practices (11 – 50 staff), with a balance figure of +14, remain the most optimistic about short-term future prospects.
London (balance figure +13) continues to be more positive than other parts of the United Kingdom, with the South of England (balance figure +9) and Wales and the West (balance figures +11) also relatively upbeat about future workload prospects.
There was a modest decline in the private housing sector forecast, down to a balance figure of +3 in November 2012 from +9 in October 2012. The other sector forecasts saw little change.
RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said:
'Allowing for small month by month variations, the Workload Index has been consistent in predicting little change in overall workloads for architects throughout the last six months. A clear picture of a stable market without any significant growth momentum appears to be emerging.'
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index decreased marginally to -2 in November 2012, down from -1 in October 2012.
Overall staffing numbers in 2012 have stayed approximately the same as 2011 levels. A number of respondents did report increased levels of commissions, with specialist areas such as conservation and elderly care, as well as bespoke private housing, continuing to perform relatively well. However, practices continue to report that there is intense competition for work and that careful fee management is needed to ensure prompt payment of fees due.