Architect confidence on the rise in latest RIBA survey

The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index increased significantly in November, rising to +27 (up from +18 in October), suggesting that confidence levels within the profession have stabilised towards the end of the year.

Large practices (51+ staff) remain the most positive about future prospects (balance figure +100), compared with medium-sized (11–50 staff, balance figure +32) and small practices (1–10 staff, balance figure +24).

The private housing sector forecast was unchanged in November (+25) and the public sector and community sector workload forecasts also remained the same (balance figures –3 and +3 respectively). The commercial sector workload forecast increased to +14 in November (from +7 in October).

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also recovered lost ground, rising to +14 in November (up from +9 in October). Only 2% of practices expect to have fewer staff at the end of the next quarter.

Large practices continue to be more confident about increasing staff numbers (balance figure of +50) compared with either small (+10) or medium-sized practices (+33).

RIBA executive director of members, Adrian Dobson, said: “Commentary from our participating practices is generally upbeat as we look ahead to 2016. We have seen further evidence of increases in fee levels, as well as confirmation that practices are finding it is taking more time to recruit new staff with appropriate skills while the employment market continues to improve. A few practices sound a note of caution that increases in construction tender prices are leading some clients to question the viability of projects moving into the construction phase.”