Architects report continuing growing workload confidence

RIBA Future Trends Workload Index

Architects reported a sharp rise in confidence about new work prospects in the latest RIBA Future Trends Workload Index. The figure for October 2014 was +37, compared to +29 in September. The October figure was the second highest ever workload balance figure. Overall confidence levels about future workload prospects for architects continue to be very positive across the whole of the UK — ranging from +28 in Wales and the west of England to +80 in Scotland.

Small practices with one to 10 staff reported a balance figure of +32. Medium-size practices (10 to 50 staff) reported a figure of +67. Larger practices, those with 51 or more staff, had a balance figure of +60

RIBA’s director of practice Adrian Dobson said, ‘The recovery in architectural workloads continues to be driven by the private-housing and commercial sectors, but there is also a sense that the outlook for public-sector work is at least stable at present and more predictable than it has been in recent years.

‘The overall market outlook for architects’ services continues to improve, with many practices reporting sustained increases in their overall work levels. Competitive pressure on fees remains strong, and whilst aggregate turnover is rising, profit margins on projects often remain very tight. This in turn is sometimes making it difficult for practices to meet salary expectations for staff in a tightening employment market.

‘Although we have seen several months of improving levels of work in progress, it does remain noticeable that many practices feel that they still cannot forecast future workloads beyond a fairly short time horizon, and whilst the overall sentiment remains very positive there remains significant uncertainty about longer-term prospects.’

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