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London practices more downbeat about future workloads – RIBA Future Trends survey April 2019

London practices more downbeat about future workloads

23 May 2019

In April 2019 the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index remained steady at +5, consistent with the results from the previous month.

In terms of geographical analysis, practices in London have become more downbeat about future workloads (balance figure -7), suggesting they feel workloads will decrease.

Practices in the Midlands and East Anglia (balance figure +9) and Wales and the West (balance figure +14) saw a positive sentiment this month, while the North of England continued its run of optimism, returning a balance of +20.

Analysing the April 2019 workload forecast data in terms of practice size, medium-sized practices (11 - 50 staff) remained the most positive, returning a balance figure of +26, while small (1 - 10 staff) and large practices (51+ staff) returned balance figures of +3 and zero respectively.

In terms of different work sectors, the figures remain broadly consistent with the previous month. However, there has been a general dampening of expectations across all sectors.

The private housing sector workload forecast remained at +4, the same point as it was last month, and the commercial sector slipped back into negative territory to -1 (from +4). The community sector also dropped into a negative balance score of -2 (from 0) and the public sector also reverted to -3.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index showed a slight increase to +4, up from +3, though the market for architectural services remains subdued.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said:

“The subdued nature of the market for architectural services is highlighted by the number of architects reporting that a lack of work over the last month has led to them being personally underemployed.

“The lack of clarity around Brexit continues to dominate the narrative participating practices give about their workload. The tone remains one of frustration as the ongoing and indeterminate Brexit debate maintains high levels of uncertainty within the architectural community, as well as the wider construction industry.

“Not all architects are downbeat however. Some tell us of the strength in the regions and of the relative resilience of the housing market.”


Notes to editors:

1. For further press information contact +44 (0) 20 7307 3818

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 here

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.

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.

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. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates. 

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