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September 2017 RIBA Future Trends survey press release

The September 2017 RIBA Future Trends Workload Index recovers recent lost ground

The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) monthly Future Trends workload index – a tool used to measure RIBA members’ confidence in the market for architectural services – has increased, rising to +17 (up from, +11 in August and the earlier high of +14 in July 2017).

While practices in the North of England (balance figure +29) foresee a slight decline, the Midlands and East Anglia (balance figures +26) felt more optimistic about medium term workload prospects this month. Practices in London remained by far the most cautious about future workloads, with a balance figure of +7, nevertheless this is the best figure for the London region for some time having has risen from -6 in August.

In terms of different work sectors, more forecasts saw upward movement. The exception was the private housing sector workload forecast which fell back marginally to +18 from +19 in August overall, however, it remains the most positive of all our sector forecasts. The commercial sector workload had significant uplift this month, with a balance figure of +7 in September 2017, up from +2 in August. Both the community sector workload forecast (balance figure +3) and the public sectors workload forecast (Balance figure zero) increased in September, but these remain the weakest of our sector forecasts.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index was unchanged this month, remaining at +5 in September 2017. On balance, the majority of practices expect their permanent staffing levels to either remain the same or increase over the coming quarter. Large practices (51+ staff), with a balance figure of +14, and medium-sized practices (11 - 50 staff), with a balance figure of +17, were more confident about future staffing levels than small practices (1 - 10 staff), with a balance figure of +3.

RIBA Executive Director Members, Adrian Dobson, said: “Whilst workloads are steady, there is anecdotal evidence of a weakening in general business confidence that is beginning to become evident in the architectural market. Private investors, whether home owners or commercial developers, remain active, but the public and community sectors are still at a relatively low ebb, so any weakening in overall private sector confidence is obviously a concern.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact Howard Crosskey in the RIBA Media Office – howard.crosskey@riba.org +44 (0) 20 7580 5533
  1. 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.
  1. 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
  1. 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 2017 was +17
  1. 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 2017 was +5
  1. 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.
  1. 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. www.architecture.com Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates www.twitter.com/RIBA

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