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RIBA survey: practice workloads and optimism up

Architects’ workloads are up and the prospects of future jobs in the commercial and housing sector are also brighter, according to the RIBA‘s latest industry-wide survey.

The results of the RIBA’s  Future Trends Survey for December show a +8 point rise in its Workloads Index - calculated as the difference between those expecting more and less work

It is the third consecutive month that the index has remained positive.

Increases were also seen in the commercial sector forecast and the private housing forecast which both showed positive balance figures of +5.

Practices in London, the south of England, the Midlands, East Anglia, the west of England and Wales appeared to be more optimistic than those in Scotland and Northern Ireland, while those in the north of England returned a positive figure for the first time since October 2012.

Adrian Dobson, RIBA Director of Practice, said: ‘The upward movements in two key sectors (commercial and private housing) represent a very positive trend for the profession and the wider industry. They are the sectors most likely to provide an early indication of any emerging sustainable growth in the UK construction industry.’

The RIBA’s research comes as figures show a fall in the number of architects claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, down to 730 signing on in December compared to 795 in November.

Although the drop in unemployed architects appears positive, the true number of unemployed architects is likely to be much higher, and the figures contradict the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index which decreased to -3 nationally.

The index  is based on the difference between the number of practices expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and those expecting to employ fewer permanent staff. However, the situation in London appears more positive, with a Staffing Index of +4.


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