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Architect workload confidence stabilises in September 2016 Future Trends survey.

Future Trends September 2016

  • Workload confidence shows signs of stability but remaining lower than pre-referendum levels
  • Architects expect to see further growth in private housing sector
  • Large practices the least confident about increasing staff and workload levels

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends workload index was unchanged in September 2016, with a balance figure of +8. The figure shows that while confidence has stabilised and is in positive territory, it is still lower than levels recorded prior to the UK referendum on membership of the EU.

Practices in the Midlands and East Anglia (+17) and North of England (+13) were the most optimistic about increasing work in the medium-term.

Large practices expected to see a reduction in workloads (–14). However, small and medium-sized practices expected to see workloads increase.

The public sector (–1) and community sector (–1) forecasts changed little in September. The outlook for public sector work remains steady rather than dynamic, with little prospect of rapid growth in overall public sector capital spending levels.

The private housing sector forecast made a significant recovery, rising to +16 (from +7 in August 2016). While moving back into positive territory, the forecast for the commercial sector remains modest at +1.

The RIBA Future Trends staffing index fell to zero in September 2016, with few practices expecting to increase their staffing levels over the next quarter

As with the workload index, large practices were the least optimistic about increasing staff levels

RIBA Executive Director Members Adrian Dobson said:

“September’s survey shows a mixed picture. A small number of practices have reported a Brexit-related slow-down in projects, with some cancellations. However, many other respondents showed signs of resilience, especially in the bespoke housing market.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact Callum Reilly in the RIBA press office: 020 7307 3757
  2. 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.
  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. 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
  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 September 2016 was +8.
  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 September 2016 was 0.
  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.

    Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

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