The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for May show that the Workload Index among UK practices was slightly down in comparison to April (from +35 to +33) with the recovery in confidence levels remaining consistently "very strong" across the country. Although last month's survey showed London as the region with the brightest outlook, confidence levels reported by architects in Wales and the West topped the index with a balance figure of +49. Workload forecasts in the private sector, public sector and community sector have all significantly increased.
Adrian Dobson, Director of Practice at the RIBA, said that "optimism about future workload increases continues to be driven by the strengthening of the private housing sector and the increase in commercial projects. A number of other specific markets also seem to be performing strongly, including the higher education sector." The commercial sector workload forecast fell back slightly to +20 from +22 last month, but "remains very much in positive territory."
The Staffing Index fell marginally this month, standing at +7 in May 2014 compared with +8 in April 2014. According to the survey, 93% of the practices that responded expect their staffing levels to either stay the same or increase during the next quarter. According to the RIBA, however, this increased optimism has not yet been realised in terms of a net increase in overall actual staffing numbers, although "it is heartening that there has been an annual increase of 11% in the number of Part 1 and Part 2 students being employed by our participating practices."
The monthly survey is designed to “monitor the employment and business trends affecting the architectural profession throughout the period of economic downturn,” the data from which is analyzed by both the RIBA and the Fees Bureau. It is a “representative sample of the range of different practice sizes and geographical locations” with 1,600 British Architects from 226 firms contributing.
Read the May 2014 report in full here (PDF).