The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the March 2013 Future Trends Survey, the monthly member survey which offers an insight into the predicted health of the architects’ profession.
The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index increased in March 2013, rising to +19 from +16 in February 2013; the fourth consecutive monthly increase in a row, and a strong indication that architects in general remain more positive about future business prospects.
RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: 'This increased optimism is so far not reflected in real, actual workloads, with our practices reporting that overall activity is stable but not as yet growing in year-on-year terms.'
Large practices (51+ staff) continued to be the most optimistic about future workloads, but all size categories of practices returned positive workload forecast balance figures.
All the nations and regions in the UK except for Northern Ireland returned positive balance figures, with practices in London (balance figure +36) and the Midlands and East Anglia (balance figure +21) being the most positive at present.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell marginally to a balance figure of zero in March 2013, down from +1 in February 2013. Whilst reported overall actual staffing levels are stable, practices remain very cautious about taking on additional permanent staff. There is continuing evidence from our survey data that practices are more confident about employing additional temporary staff to meet workload requirements.
In March 2013, the percentage of our respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month was 26%.
Commenting on Staffing Trends, Dobson said 'The overall outlook appears to remain very mixed, and many respondents continue to report difficulties for clients in obtaining investment funding, intense fee competition and frustrations with delays in the planning system.'