RIBA Future Trends Survey results for January 2013

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the results of the January 2013 Future Trends Survey, the monthly member survey which offers an insight into the predicted health of the architects’ profession and the wider construction industry.

The Future Trends Workload Index was up in January, increasing to +18 from +8 in December 2012; the Index has remained in positive territory since October 2012.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said “The RIBA’s survey data continues to suggest that the overall market for architects’ services is stable. I’m pleased to report that there are positive signs of increasing confidence over the prospect of some medium term growth.”

Large practices (51+ staff) remain the most optimistic about future work, but all size categories of practices returned positive workload forecast figures last month. 29% of survey respondents reported that they had been personally under-employed in the previous month.

Positive workload forecast balance figures were reported for practices in Wales and all the English regions, however Scotland and Northern Ireland remain in negative territory.

The main driver for the increased optimism in future workloads for January comes from the private housing sector (balance figure +17 for January, up significantly from +5 in December 2012). The commercial sector (balance figure +2), public sector forecast (balance figure -8) and community sector forecast (balance figure -4) were all down marginally this month. With the next round of the Government’s austerity drive just around the corner, the public and community sectors continue to be challenging areas for the industry.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell back to -6 in January 2013, down from -3 in December 2012, revealing that practices remain nervous about taking on additional permanent members of staff. Temporary staffing level forecasts in the next quarter are more positive with an overall balance figure of +8. Practices in London remain the most likely to take on additional staff in the next quarter; practices in Northern Ireland and Scotland remain the most cautious.



Notes to editors

  1. 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 architecture.com - the survey will be available from 26 February 2013.
  2. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761 howard.crosskey@riba.org  
  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. 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.
  5. 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 January 2013 was +11
  6. 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 January 2013 was -6
  7. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members.