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RIBA Future Trends survey reveals plummeting architects' confidence

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The full impact of the global economic crisis on the nation’s architects has been revealed by the latest results from the RIBA’s Future Trends survey

A declining workload, particularly in the commercial sector and growing fears over redundancies are the main findings of the survey.

Almost half of all respondents expected their workloads to decline over the next three months, compared to 39 per cent last month. Just 16 per cent expected any increase in workload, while 39 per cent expect it to stay the same. Meanwhile the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index, which indicates employee levels, fell to -32 (compared to -20 in January).

The most significant drop in confidence was amongst those practices with commercial projects. Of these practices, 52 per cent predicted a decrease in workload compared to 44 per cent in January. As in the previous month’s survey, the public sector was the area which practices aimed to procure work, although a more cautious figure of 55 per cent stated this, compared to 60 per cent the previous month.

Commenting on results, Adrian Dobson, RIBA director of practice, said: ‘The latest results from the RIBA Future Trends survey paint a picture of a profession which is now very cautious about future workloads. This is reflected most strikingly in the reduction in the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index to -32.  This caution is shared across all practice sizes, and practices are faced with the difficult balance of controlling costs and maintaining cash flow, while retaining the skills and resources to assure service levels and support future activity.’

RIBA’s results mirror those of the AJ’s State of the Profession survey which was released in February. Of the 300 architects polled in the survey, the largest of its kind, 20 per cent said they had taken pay cuts, with another 14 per cent saying a cut was on the cards (AJ.20.02.09).

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