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Architects growing more confident, says RIBA survey

Architects are becoming increasingly confident about future workloads according to the latest RIBA Future Trends survey

Last month saw a five per cent surge in the number of practices expecting new projects to materialise, claimed the report. The figure was 27 per cent in January.

The number of practices predicting less work was also down to 25 per cent.

There was also no change in the number of architects expecting staff levels to remain constant while underemployment levels dropped for the first time since February to just 25 per cent.

The survey compiles a ‘Workload Index’ and ‘Staffing Index’ based on measurements of future workload and staffing level confidence.

In February the Workload Index was +7,  compared to +1 in January, while the Staffing Index was static at -8.

Adrian Dobson, RIBA director of practice, explained: ‘The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index for February 2011 is -8, and illustrates that despite the recent sustained improvement in predictions for future workloads overall confidence levels are still not sufficient to make practices feel comfortable about increasing their staffing levels. 

‘This situation applies across all sizes of practice. 

‘In terms of geographical analysis, Northern Ireland remains the least optimistic part of the United Kingdom with a balance figure of -50 for the future workload prediction, whilst confidence levels are highest in London [where the] balance figure is +31.’

He added: ‘Given a slow recovery in the UK, many practices are looking abroad for medium term growth potential. 

Meanwhile, last month saw a surprise drop in the number of architects claiming unemployment benefit.

There are now just 1,075 on the dole, compared to 1,385 this time last year - according to NOMIS statistics.

The number of architects registered as unemployed has nearly halved since its peak of 2,055 in August 2009. In February 2008 there was just 150 architects in the dole queue.  

The true scale of the problem is understood to be hidden by the fact many out-of-work architects fail to claim unemployment benefits.

Graph: Architects claiming unemployment benefits, February 2011

Source: NOMIS

Graph: Architects claiming unemployment benefits, February 2011


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