The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has released the results of their Future Trends Survey for April 2016. The report shows continued growth in employment and workload predictions, as the industry edges closer to pre-recession levels. Notably, it shows a rise in revenue for projects outside of the UK, with this figure jumping for large practices.
Workloads in April 2016 showed an 8% increase from those in April 2015. “Workload growth has been strong throughout the last year, and this is the twelfth consecutive quarter in which we have seen rising workload,” RIBA Executive Director Member Adrian Dobson in a press release.
Despite this, the Future Trends Workload Index fell two points from March, to +29. All Nations and Regions returned positive forecasts, with the North of England remaining strong (balance figure +43). Large practices (51+ staff) had the highest balance figure at +71, followed by small practices (1–10 staff, balance figure +28) and medium-sized practices (11-50 staff, balance figure +24).
The private housing sector workload forecast saw the biggest increase in April (rising to +33 from +28 in March), and Dobson identified it as “the key driver of growth.” He attributed this growth in part to the fact that “Buoyant housing activity is no longer confined to London and the South East but is widespread throughout the country." The commercial sector forecast decreased to +11 (down from +18 in March). Meanwhile, the public sector and community sector forecasts changed little.
“The past year has also seen strong employment growth," said Dobson. "However, there is some way to go before employment levels will attain their pre-recession peaks.” In April, The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index was unchanged at +10. The index is determined by the difference between those expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and those expecting to employ fewer. Responding practices reported that permanent staffing levels were 6% higher than one year ago. Large practices were the most optimistic about recruiting new staff, with a balance figure of +71. Medium-sized practices and small practices were less optimistic, although still positive (with balance figures of +6 and +24 respectively).
The survey, established in 2009, uses a geographically representative sample of mixed-size practices to determine the prevailing workplace trends. The results are quantified into index numbers, enabling efficient monthly tracking.
Full results of the survey, including a graphical analysis, can be viewed here, and is updated each month.