The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) monthly Future Trends workload index, a tool used by the Institute to measure members' confidence in the economy, was static in April 2017, remaining at +22.
Architecture practices in the North of England (balance figure +48) were the most optimistic about medium term workload prospects this month. Practices in London (balance figure +17) remained more cautious about future workloads, but our practices in the South of England saw a significant uplift in optimism (balance figure +29) compared with the figures we have seen for this region in recent preceding months. Large practices (51+ staff) returned a balance figure of +50, in April 2017; a big jump up from +20 in March. Small practices (1 - 10 staff), with a balance figure of +23 were also more upbeat this month. By contrast medium-sized practices (11 - 50 staff) were becoming more cautious, with a balance figure of +16 in April 2017, compared with +36 in March.
Both the private housing sector workload forecast (balance figure +20) and the commercial sector workload forecast (balance figure +9) were unchanged this month. These remain the most strongly performing of our sector forecasts. The public sector workload forecast lost its recent upward momentum, falling back into negative territory, with a balance figure of -5. The community sector forecast, however, continued to rise, standing at +6 in April 2017 - its highest figure since March 2015.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index dipped a little this month, falling to +9 in April 2017 from +12 in March.
RIBA Executive Director Members, Adrian Dobson, said:
“Commentary received this month from our participating practices continues to suggest a broadly stable market for architectural services. A number of correspondents have commented that the market for private house extensions remains particularly buoyant, but that much of this work is financed via re-mortgaging and is therefore highly sensitive to any correction in house prices.
“At the larger project scale, it seems that infrastructure is likely to continue to be prioritised in terms of public sector capital investment, and sectors such as transport and energy infrastructure are seen as increasingly important by a number of larger practices.
“There continues to be growing interest in the PRS housing sector as financial institutions begin to become more actively engaged, building upon experience in student housing provision.”
Notes to editors:
- For further press information contact:
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- 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: www.architecture.com/knowledge-and-resources/resources-landing-page/future-trends-survey-2017
- 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 2017 was +22.
- 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 2017 was +9.
- To participate in the RIBA Future Trends Survey, please contact the RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email email@example.com. The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all returns are independently processed in strict confidence.
- 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. Architecture.com
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