The RIBA Future Trends Survey highlighted the growth in architect’s confidence in Scotland, Southern England and London. Its Workload Index fell slightly in November; standing at +31 compared to +35 in October 2013.
Even though geographical analyses demonstrated that Scotland (+50), the South of England (+41) and London (+40) had the highest balance figures, all UK nations and regions remain positive about future workloads.
Those who were the most optimistic about prospects for workloads over the next quarter, returning a balance figure of +45, were medium-sized practices (11-50 staff).
Regardless of the slight decrease workload forecast to +29 in November 2013, the private housing sector continues to remain the most buoyant of all the sector forecasts. The commercial sector workload forecast remained unchanged at +18 in November 2013, indicating positive improvement.
Practices had an unchanged forecast at +3 showing that it remains cautious about short-term prospects for the public sector. In turn, the community sector workload forecast saw a slight increase to +7 in November 2013, up from +3 on October 2013.
In November 2013, the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index stood at +11, slightly down from +14 in October 2013. All practices in all size categories predict an overall increase in the workforce, however, its large practices (50+ staff) that continue to be the most confident about their ability to sustain higher staffing levels.
19% of respondents reported that they were under-employed in November 2013, while anecdotal feedback suggests that architects continue to see an increase in enquiries. Concurrently, fee competition remains intense with little evidence of widespread upward market pressure on fee levels.