UK wide recovery continues for architects - RIBA publishes April Future Trends Survey results

The April results of the RIBA’s Future Trends Survey indicate architects’ confidence about an improvement in future workloads remains solid and widespread across the UK (Workload Index was unchanged in April 2014, at +35).

All UK nations and regions returned very positive balance figures for future workload forecasts, with architects in London most positive in April 2014 with a balance figure of +45.

Small (1 – 10 staff), medium (10 – 50 staff) and large-sized practices (51+ staff) all reported very positive workload forecast figures.

In terms of sectors, the private housing sector (workload forecast, up to +33 from +31 in March 2014) and the commercial sector (workload forecast, up to +22 from +17 in March 2014) continue to lead the way. The public sector workload forecast (balance figure +4) fell slightly this month; the community sector workload forecast (balance figure +5) saw positive movement.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: “Optimism about future workload continues to be driven by a widespread strengthening of the private housing sector and an increasing pick-up in commercial projects. RIBA practices reported an 8% improvement in the value of actual work in-progress in Q1 of 2014 compared with Q1 in 2013, representing the third consecutive quarter of aggregate growth in the value of work being undertaken by the UK architects’ profession.”

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell back slightly this month, standing at +8 in April 2014 compared with +11 in March 2014, but the majority of practices (94%) expect their staffing levels to either stay the same or increase during the next quarter. The Staffing Index remains firmly in positive territory, as it has during the latter part of 2013 and throughout 2014.

In April 2014 the percentage of respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the previous month was 19%, perhaps giving some indication why we have not yet seen any significant increase in actual aggregate staffing levels within participating practices, despite the return to growth of work in progress.

Dobson continued: “The market for architects’ services is becoming more buoyant, especially in the housing and commercial sectors. However, our practices continue to report a very competitive market for their services, with strong pressure on fee levels and profit margins on many projects remaining very tight.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Press Office: 020 7307 3761
  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:
  5. To participate in the RIBA Future Trends Survey, please contact the RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email  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 2014 was +35
  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 2014 was +8


Posted on Thursday 22nd May 2014