Architects' survey remains in positive territory

The RIBA’s monthly confidence and workload survey reported a dip in November, although the organisation says the trend is still upward, while fees remain in check thanks to stiff competition.

The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index fell back to +31 from +35 in October, although RIBA director of practice Adrian Dobson said he was pleased to see it remained in positive territory.

He said: “In terms of geographical analysis the highest balance figures were in Scotland (+50), the South of England (+41) and London (+40), but all UK nations and regions remain positive about future workloads, again reflecting a widespread increase in confidence levels.”

Nevertheless, some 19% of respondents reported that they personally had been under-employed in the last month, which the organisation says shows there remains spare capacity in the sector.

It says anecdotal evidence suggests architects are seeing a modest upswing in enquiries leading to actual orders, but intense fee competition is continuing to keep fees down.

Medium-sized practices of between 11 and 50 staff were the most optimistic about future prospects, and although private housing workload forecasts dropped back to +29 from +34, housing remains the most buoyant sector. Commercial and public sector stayed level at +18 and+3 respectively, while community projects saw a small rise from +3 to +7.

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