Research Reveals Mixed Feelings Towards Future Architectural Workloads

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

According to the research, practices in London have become more downbeat about future workloads (balance figure -7), suggesting they feel workloads will decrease. In comparison, 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.

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson

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.”

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