The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the July 2013 RIBA Future Trends Survey. Building on last month’s increase, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index increased substantially in July 2013 to +23, up from +17 in June 2013.
This is the most positive workload forecast since we began the RIBA Future Trends Survey in January 2009, and represents a welcome continuation of the upward trend we have witnessed since the beginning of 2013.
RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said:
'Activity in the private housing sector seems to be increasing, and there is a clear sense from a number of our members that the overall market for architects’ services is beginning to turn in a more positive direction.'
The increased level of optimism has not yet fed through into a significant overall increase in actual workloads, but when asked about work in progress our practices continue to report steady workloads on a year-on-year basis. Whilst recovery from the recession is slow the market for architects’ services has clearly stabilised, and practices are seeing grounds for much more optimism about future workloads.
Medium-sized practices (11 – 50 staff) are currently most positive about the prospect of an improvement in workloads during the next quarter.
In terms of geographical analysis, all the nations and regions in the UK returned positive workload forecast balance figures this month, with the South of England (balance figure +38) and Scotland (balance figure +38) being the most optimistic.
All our sector forecasts remained in positive territory this month. The private housing sector saw the most significant increase in July 2013, rising to a balance figure of +28 from its June 2013 level of +12.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also saw a significant increase to +5 in July 2013, compared with +1 in June 2013. This is the highest level the Staffing Index has reached since the start of the RIBA Future Trends Survey in January 2009. The positive trend in our permanent staffing forecast was mirrored in the index for temporary staffing, which also increased (up to +8 in July 2013 from +5 in June 2013).
The consolidation of the recent rises in our key staffing indices is a very positive indicator of improving conditions, with practices becoming more willing to increase their human resources.
Practices based in the South of England (balance figure +18) are currently the most confident about their ability to increase future staffing levels.
In June 2013, the percentage of our respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month was 21%; this represents the lowest level of under-employment reported since we began the monthly RIBA Future Trends Survey.