RIBA publishes July 2014 Future Trends Survey results

The RIBA has published the July 2014 results from the monthly Future Trends Survey. Although the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index fell back in July (to +28 compared with +34 in June 2014), overall confidence about the level of future workloads remain very strong in practices of all sizes across the whole of the UK. Actual workloads have been growing for four consecutive quarters and the overall value of work in progress in July 2014 was 10% higher than in July 2013.

The recovery in architects’ workloads continues to be driven primarily by growth in the private housing and commercial sectors. The private housing sector (balance figure +29) and the commercial sector (balance figure +14) continue to offer the best prospects for increases in medium-term workloads, whereas confidence levels in the public sector (balance figure -1) and community sector (balance figure +3) remain more fragile.

Practices located in Wales and the West were the most cautious about prospects for future workloads, returning a balance figure of +12; the balance figure for London was +38 and for Scotland +33.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell back a little this month, decreasing to +10 in July 2014 compared with +16 in June 2014, but remained strongly in positive territory. The overwhelming majority of practices (95%) expect their staffing levels to either stay the same or increase during the next quarter, indicating that the architects’ profession remains confident about maintaining the momentum of recovery.

In July 2014, the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed was down to 12%. Although there has not been an overall increase in aggregate employment numbers, the spare capacity within the profession is gradually being eroded as workloads increase, suggesting that employment levels and earnings for salaried architects should begin to improve significantly in the medium term.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said:

"The outlook for architects’ services continues to improve steadily, with many practices reporting a significant increase in the levels of enquiries they are receiving. However, our practices are still reporting significant competitive pressure on fees and profit margins on projects remain very tight. We are seeing the first evidence of practices having difficulty recruiting staff with specific skill sets, particularly in areas experiencing stronger economic growth such as London and the South East and north east Scotland.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further press information contact the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761 pressoffice@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
  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
  1. 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 July 2014 was +28
  2. 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 July 2014 was +10
Posted on Thursday 28th August 2014