The Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Future Trends Survey for May 2016 has reported modest changes from April results, with the private housing sector remaining the strongest driver of growth. While the public sector is yet to see improvement, practices showed an overall confidence for future workloads, with North England continuing to remain the most positive. The survey, established in 2009, uses a geographically representative sample of mixed-size practices “to monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.”
The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index saw an increase of +1 from April to May, with a balance of +30, showing that practices remain confident about their workloads for the coming three months. North England, with a balance figure of +48 in May, has consistently reported the most positive predictions in recent months. Comparatively, London was more reserved, with a reported figure of +20. The definition for the balance figure is the difference between those expecting more work and those expecting less.
When broken down by practice size, large firms have reported the highest level of confidence, with a balance figure of +83. Following this, small sized firms (balance figure +29) and medium firms (balance figure +27) remain firmly in the positive spectrum.
This significantly outlying result from large firms is not translated to the Future Trends Staffing Index, where they reported a zero balance figure. Small firms reported a figure of +11, and medium firms +14.
Despite a slight drop from +33 to +29 in the sector index, private housing remains the dominant workload driver. The decrease was offset by a modest increase in the commercial sector, which rose to +15 from +11 in April. The lowest two performing sectors remain the public sector, which moved up from -1 in April to +1 in May, and community sector which saw a modest drop, down to -1 from +3.
Full results of the survey, including a graphical analysis, can be viewed here, and is updated each month.