RIBA Future Trends Survey results for December 2012

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the December 2012 Future Trends Survey, the monthly member survey which offers an insight into the predicted health of the architects’ profession.

The RIBA Future Trends Workloads Index for December 2012 was +8; rising following a fall in the previous month. The Workload Index has now remained in positive territory since October 2012 which continues to suggest a stable market for architects’ services, albeit without signs of any return to overall growth.

London, the South of England, the Midlands, East Anglia, the West and Wales continued to be relatively more optimistic about future workloads, and for the first time since October the North of England also returned an overall positive balance figure. Practices in Scotland and Northern Ireland continue to be much more cautious about workload prospects.

The commercial sector forecast (balance figure +5) saw a significant rise this month, and the private housing forecast (balance figure +5) also increased.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said:

'The upward movements in two key sectors (commercial and private housing) represent a very positive trend for the profession and the wider industry. They are the sectors most likely to provide an early indication of any emerging sustainable growth in the UK construction industry.'

RIBA members have also reported that projects involving works to existing buildings make up 64% of their workload, a figure which has been increasing steadily since 2010, and suggests that in the present climate conservation, refurbishment and adaptive re-use are important areas for architects to apply their expertise.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index decreased marginally to -3 in December 2012, down from -2 in November 2012, suggesting no immediate improvement in the employment market for salaried architects.

Practices in London (balance figure +4) are the most likely to be taking on additional staff during the next quarter, whilst practices in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the most cautious about future staffing levels.



Notes to editors

  • For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761 howard.crosskey@riba.org
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.
  • 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.
  • 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 25 January 2013.
  • 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.
  • 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 December 2012 was +8.
  • 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 December 2012 was -3.