RIBA Future Trends Survey results for April 2013

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the April 2013 Future Trends Survey, the monthly report into future prospects for the architects’ profession and the wider construction industry.

The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index fell back slightly in April 2013 to +16, down from +19 in March 2013. This is the first fall in the monthly workload indicator since November 2012, but it remains firmly in positive territory.  Actual year-on-year workloads remain stable overall.  Large practices (51+ staff) reported a 5% annual increase, but there is no real sign of a sustained upturn in total work in progress for architects at present.

Nations and regions in the UK except for Northern Ireland and Wales and West England returned positive balance figures this month.

Private sector housing fell back marginally in April 2013 (balance figure +16) from its March 2013 level (balance figure +17), as did the commercial sector forecast (balance figure +3, down from +6 in March).  The public sector forecast (balance figure -6) and the community sector forecast (balance figure -9) both saw somewhat larger falls.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said 'Whilst there are some positive signs and confidence levels have improved, the outlook seems to remain uncertain beyond a three month timeline for many practices.

'Anecdotal commentary we receive continues to paint a very mixed picture, with some practices reporting an increase in enquiries and commissions, but others commenting that the market remains intensively competitive.'

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index increased a little in April 2013, rising to +2 and entering positive territory.  Overall actual staffing levels are stable, but practices remain cautious about taking on additional permanent staff.  They remain slightly more confident about employing additional temporary staff to meet workload requirements.

The percentage of architect respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month was 29%, up from 26% last month.


Notes to editors

  1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761 howard.crosskey@riba.org
  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.
  3. Completed by a mix of small, medium and large firms based on a geographically representative sample, the RIBA Future Trends Survey was launched in January 2009 to monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.
  4. The Future Trends Survey is carried out by the RIBA in partnership with the Fees Bureau. Results of the survey, including a full graphical analysis, are published each month at: http://www.architecture.com/FindOutAbout/FutureTrendsSurvey/FutureTrendsSurvey.aspx - the survey will be available from 17 May 2013. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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 April 2013 was +16
  7. 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 April 2013 was +2