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Practices losing faith in work upsurge, claims RIBA report

The number of practices expecting more work in the future taken a tumble, according to the latest RIBA Future Trends survey

The institute’s monthly survey of UK practices reported a five per cent fall in the number of architects optimistic about their future workload.

In May just over a quarter of respondents said they were optimistic, compared to nearly a third of respondents one month earlier.

The survey also reported a cautious attitude towards staffing with just 7 per cent planning to hire new workers.

Over three quarters of responding practices said they thought staff levels would remain stagnant.

RIBA director of practice Adrian Dobson, said: ‘The future outlook continues to be uncertain for many practices.

‘In terms of geographical analysis, practices based in London, the South of England, and Wales and the West returned more optimistic future workload forecasts than those in the rest of the United Kingdom.

‘Year-out and post part 2 students continue to be severely impacted by the lack of employment opportunities in the architects’ profession.  Our practices report that they are currently employing less than half the number of students they employed even 12 months ago, reinforcing that this group is particularly vulnerable at this point in the economic cycle.’

Dobson said several practices testified to declining opportunities in the public sector while those with high end residential projects, conservation work and established overseas workloads fared better.

The survey uses a statistical analysis to report on two ‘key confidence’ indices, future workloads and staffing levels. In May, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index was +2 (compared to +8 in April), and the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index was -8 (compared to -9 in April).

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