RIBA Survey Reveals Fragile Architectural Market

SOURCE: RIBA Future Trends Survey June 2019

IN JUNE 2019 the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index increased to +9, after remaining steady at +5 for three consecutive months.

The North of England was especially positive at +39, continuing its run of returning the highest balance figure of any region. The South of England showed increased optimism, increasing by 16 points to +19; Wales and The West also had a positive outlook (+13).

Practices in London were more pessimistic about future workloads than other areas, as the balance figure fell to -8, while the Midlands and East Anglia remained at the same level, returning a balance of zero.

Large practices (51+ staff) showed the highest increase in confidence in June, returning a balance of +33, up from +20 the previous month. Medium-sized practices (11 – 50 staff) continued to be positive, returning a figure of +30 and small practices (1-10 staff) recorded a three point rise (+5).

While the private housing sector remained the most resilient reported on (+1), all sectors recorded a decrease and this month’s report suggests a fragility of the market. The commercial sector dropped 4 points this month (to zero), the community sector remains at -4 and the public sector slipped back to negative territory (-2).

Adrian Malleson

RIBA Head of Economic Research and Analysis, Adrian Malleson, said: “The commentary from practices this month focuses largely on the fragility of the current architectural climate. Some drew attention to Brexit creating an unpredictable market, in which it is increasingly difficult for both clients and architects to make, and commit to, business plans. However, with a focus on quality work and the international market, many practices continue to thrive.”

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