The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the June 2013 Future Trends survey, the monthly barometer measuring anticipated workload and staffing confidence amongst architects.
Following a minor fall, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index bounced back to +17 in June, up from +12 in May 2013. The Workload Index indicator has been in positive territory since October 2012. Medium-sized practices (11 – 50 staff) and large practices (51+ staff) are currently most positive about the prospect of an improvement in workloads during the next quarter.
UK nations and regions, except for Northern Ireland, have continued to return positive workload forecast balance figures, with the South of England (balance figure +22) being the most optimistic.
Commercial sector forecasts saw the most significant increase in June 2013 rising to a balance figure of +8 from the May 2013 level of +2, the private housing sector forecast however fell back to +12 in June 2013 from +23 in May 2013, but remains strongly in positive territory. RIBA practices currently predict little change for overall workloads in the public and community sectors.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell marginally to +1 in June 2013 compared with +3 in May 2013 but remains positive. The index for temporary staffing also increased (up to +5 in June 2013 from +1 in May 2013).
Practices based in Scotland (balance figure +13) were the most optimistic about future staffing levels.
In June 2013, the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month was 23%, improving from 25% in May.
RIBA Executive Director Membership & Profession, Richard Brindley said:
“Access to development finance for commercial projects, intense fee competition for domestic work, and the complexity and costs of public procurement processes remain the main challenges for architects. Despite these concerns we are now starting to see an increase in the number of RIBA members reporting an increase in inquiries and feasibility commissions.”