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45% report drop in personal income and almost a quarter struggling with mental health – RIBA COVID-19 survey findings

Headline findings from the RIBA's COVID-19 survey and a response from CEO Alan Vallance.

06 April 2020

The RIBA has today (Monday 6 April) published the findings from its COVID-19 survey of the profession.

Headline findings from the survey, which was completed by 1001 architects (83% RIBA members), revealed:

  • The business of architecture is under stress:

59% of respondents reported a decreased workload and 58% reported a decrease in new business enquires. This has led to a reduction in cash flow, with 57% of respondents already experiencing less money coming through.

  • A radical shift in normal working patterns:

81% of respondents are working entirely at home and around 70% of students reported that their campus had closed.

  • Significant project disruption:

79% reported project delays, 61% reported site closures, and over a third (37%) reported projects being cancelled. Only 5% of respondents reported no disruption.

  • Architects are under personal stress:

A third of respondents reported a drop in household income and 45% reported a drop in personal income. Almost a third also reported they had self-isolated with nearly a quarter (23%) reporting deterioration in mental health and 21% commenting they ‘felt isolated’.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“The findings of this survey show how that COVID-19 is having a severe impact on architects, professionally and personally. For many architects, their work is more than a way to earn a living, and to see decades of hard work threatened by circumstances none of us can have foreseen is a disaster.

The RIBA remains committed to responding to the needs of its members, and will carry on providing the information, guidance and support they need so that architects can weather this storm.

We will continue to lobby the Government to protect the income of all affected architects, expand support schemes to cover directors’ dividends and shift economic policies to provide businesses with the security they need.

During this extremely unsettling time, I call on employers to prioritise the welfare and wellbeing of their staff. This means enabling them to work from home flexibly where possible, and taking advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. The RIBA is currently asking the Government to give grants or expand capital allowances so that companies can purchase or rent computer equipment to make it easier for employees to work productively and collaboratively at home.

Above all else, we must all prioritise our own physical and mental health, and seek support if needed.

The RIBA will continue to guide and support the profession as we navigate through the coming weeks and months.”

Members with any concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak are encouraged to email info@riba.org.

An executive summary of the survey’s findings can be found here.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Press contact: Abigail.Chiswell-White@riba.org or +44 (0) 20 7307 3811.

2. Visit the RIBA’s COVID-19 hub for regularly updated advice and guidance.

3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

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