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Green shoots spread: Architects workloads up across the regions

Scotland and the North of England are predicting the strongest growth in architects’ workloads

The latest RIBA Future Trends Survey shows positive figures across the country, confirming that the economic recovery is spreading out from London and the South East.

The survey also found that spare capacity within the industry had reduced. In March just 17 per cent of architects reported they were ‘under-employed’ – the lowest figure since the Future Trends survey was first established in January 2009.

But despite hitting ‘an all-time high’ in February, overall workloads have dropped off. The Workload Index – the total difference between those expecting more work in the next three months and those expecting less – fell six points to +35 in March. However confidence among architects remains high and the overall path of the index continues to be positive.

After seeing continued increase in previous months, work in the private housing sector has fallen with the workload index decreasing to +31 from +40 in February.

Commercial work increased slightly to +17 but workloads in the public sector saw a drop from +8 in February to +6 in March.

RIBA director of practice, Adrian Dobson said: ‘Optimism about future workload continues to be driven largely by a widespread strengthening of the private housing sector across the UK and an increasing pick-up in commercial projects.’

Staffing levels decreased slightly to +11 in March compared to +11 the previous month. Despite this drop 94 per cent of practice still expect staffing levels to either increase or stay the same during the next quarter. Just six per cent said they were likely to cut staff numbers.

Dobson added: ‘We continue to see widespread pick-up in the level of enquiries and new commissions, particularly in the housing and commercial sectors – but at the same time our architects are still reporting a very competitive market for their services with profit margins on many projects remaining very tight.’

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