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Architects remain confident despite slight drop in workloads

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Despite a drop in overall work, practices in the West and Wales have continued to report signs of recovery, according to new RIBA figures

This month’s RIBA Future Trends Survey shows that the Workload Index – the difference between those expecting more work in the next three months and those expecting less – dropped to +33 from +35 last month.

Yet those architects based in Wales and the West reported a workload index of +49.

With a workload index of +57 medium-sized practices have the most work, while large-sized firms follow closely behind with an index figure of +51.

Workloads across most sectors have continued to increase with the private housing sector up to +38 in May from +33 in April, while public sector workloads are up two points to +6.

The only sector to see a dip in workloads through the past month has been the office sector which saw its workloads index drop to +22 from +20.  

Reflecting the overall slight drop in the workloads index, the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also saw a fall throughout the last month, standing at +7 in May compared to +8 in April.

More than 90 per cent of practices expect staffing levels to stay the same or increase during the next quarter.

Similar trends were reported by recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which showed the number of architects claiming jobseekers allowance in May fell by almost 50 per cent year-on-year.

RIBA director of practice Adrian Dobson said: ‘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. Overall actual workloads are up approximately 10% on a year-on-year comparison basis.’

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