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Future Trends February 2016

  • Volatile workload index remains in positive territory
  • Growth in architecture industry still driven by housing sector

The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index decreased in February yet remained in firmly positive territory (down to +21, from +29 in January).

Large practices (51+ staff) were by far the most positive (balance figure +50). Small practices (1–10 staff, balance figure +25) and medium-sized practices (11–50 staff, balance figure +19) also continue to predict increases in workload.

Practices in the North of England were the most confident this month (balance figure +30); those in Wales and the West (+15) and Scotland (0) were more cautious about future workload levels.

The private housing sector forecast remains the strongest area of growth with a marginal increase to +31 in February 2016 (up from +30 in January).

Ground was lost in both the commercial sector workload forecast (+10 in February, down from +14 in January) and public sector workload forecast (+1 in February, down from +7 in January).

Breaking into positive territory for the first time since November 2015, the community sector forecast increased to +2 in February.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell, standing at +7 in February 2016 (down from +10 in January).

Medium-sized and large practices were both optimistic about taking on additional staff during the next quarter (balance figures +30 and +33 respectively). Small practices were less confident about future staffing levels (balance figure +8 in February).

RIBA Executive Director Members, Adrian Dobson, said:

"The Workload Index remains in firmly positive territory, despite some volatility in recent months. This is perhaps more related to general economic uncertainties rather than factors specific to the market for architectural services. The majority of responding practices predict an increase in workloads in the medium term.

"A number of practices have reported a more stable pipeline of longer term, larger scale projects. Private housing remains the best performing sector in our survey, showing how central this has been to continuing growth in architects’ workloads."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact Callum Reilly in the RIBA press office: callum.reilly@riba.org 020 7307 3757
  2. 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.
  3. 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/RIBA/Professionalsupport/FutureTrendsSurvey.aspx
  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 February 2016 was +21.
  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 February 2016 was +7.
  7. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. www.architecture.com
  8. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates www.twitter.com/RIBA

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