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RIBA Future Trends July 2017 survey results

Architects’ confidence recovers some lost ground in July 2017 Future Trends survey

07 September 2017

The RIBA Future Trends workload index bounced back a little in July 2017, following a dip in June; the balance figure stands at +14 (up from +10 in the previous month).

Practices outside of London were by far the most optimistic, with the Midlands and East Anglia returning a balance figure of +32.

Practices of all sizes remained positive but large practices (51+ staff) showed the most confidence at increasing future workloads, with a balance figure of +63.

Growth in the value of work in progress, measured on a year-on-year basis, remains at an annualised rate of 1%.

Workload forecasts for all four sectors improved in July, with private housing continuing to lead the way (balance figure +17). The biggest net increase was in the public sector forecast (edging back into positive territory at +3).

The Future Trends staffing index also increased, standing at +10 in July. Large practices were once again the most optimistic about increasing staff levels in the medium-term.

RIBA Executive Director Members Adrian Dobson said:

“Commentary from participating practices points to a steady outlook in the medium term but with more uncertainty over the long term. Some of last month’s pessimism seems to have lifted but signals remain mixed.

“Some practices have detected nervousness on the part of developers of larger residential schemes. At the same time we have had the first reports for some time of practices struggling to recruit staff with the skills they need.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact the RIBA Press Office:
    +44 (0) 20 7580 5533
  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:
  4. 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 2017 was +14
  5. 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 2017 was +10.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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