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Mental health concern grows – RIBA COVID-19 survey findings

Headline findings from the RIBA's second COVID-19 survey of architects, and a comment from CEO Alan Vallance.

26 May 2020

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the findings from its second COVID-19 survey of architects, revealing the impact of the pandemic on the profession.

Findings indicate the main concerns for people, practices and projects:

People

  • Mental health decline – 40% said their mental health had been affected (a significant increase from 23% in April); 20% felt isolated.
  • Working location – 74% said they were working entirely from home, a further 10% said they were working mostly from home.
  • Working from home difficulties – almost a quarter (24%) are caring for others and 13% said they have inadequate equipment.
  • Reduced income – 56% have reduced personal and/or household income.
  • Working patterns have changed – 15% said they had been furloughed and 27% said they were working reduced hours. 37% reported finding ‘new and better ways of working’.

Practices

  • Economic impact – 58% reported fewer new business enquiries, 53% reported a decreased workload and 57% said they were experiencing a cashflow reduction.

Projects

  • Site closures – 60% said at least one of their project sites had closed.
  • Widespread project delays – 90% reported project delays, citing parties including clients, contractors, planning officers and building control officers.
  • Clients responsible for most project cancellations – 48% of decisions to cancel projects were made by the client.

RIBA CEO, Alan Vallance, said:

“Our latest survey findings show the continuing impact of the pandemic on the business of architecture and the wellbeing of architects.

We are particularly concerned to see a significant decline in mental health, with most having to deal with reduced incomes and many also juggling caring responsibilities with home-working. As lockdown restrictions ease, construction sites re-open and we establish new ways of working, we must prioritise our health and wellbeing – and those of our employees and colleagues – and seek support should we need to. Practice leaders can help by promoting a healthy work-life balance.

We are here to help members navigate through and beyond this crisis. We are producing regular guidance in response to the profession’s key concerns and lobbying the Government to support the sector both financially and as a key client.”

Members with any concerns are encouraged to email info@riba.org for information and support.

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

ENDS

Notes to editors:

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

2. This survey was completed by 430 architects and students.

3. Visit the RIBA’s COVID-19 hub for regularly updated guidance.

4. 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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