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RIBA survey supports bleak outlook

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Architects are increasingly pessimistic about future workloads despite a continued fall in those claiming dole

The RIBA’s Future Trends Survey for June shows 38 per cent of practices predicting less public sector work. The figure jumped from 25 per cent in May following this month’s axing of 700 BSF schemes, understood to be worth £7.5 billion.  

A quarter of practices fear their workload is shrinking and only 15 per cent think employment levels will stay constant with almost a fifth of practices expect commercial work to decrease, representing a 6 per cent drop since May.  Several practices reported redundancy programmes.

Adrian Dobson, director of practice at the RIBA, said: ‘It is no surprise, given recent announcements from the Government on future capital spending plans, that predictions for future public sector workloads have declined sharply this month.

‘It is disquieting that confidence about growth in the commercial sector also appears to be losing some momentum […]  If this trend were to continue it would raise serious concerns about the capacity for commercial sector growth to make up for reductions in the public sector building programme.’

However 26 per cent of practices expected increased private housing work.

The number of architects claiming dole fell for the tenth consecutive month to 1,055, now at nearly half of last summer’s peak unemployment level. The total UK unemployment level also fell by 34,000 to 2.47 million in the three months to May.

People working part-time however rose by a record 148,000 to 7.82 million.

James Berry of Woods Bagot said: ‘There is bound to be redundancies as a result [of BSF]  but these will not appear on the statistics for a few weeks.

‘We’re recruiting now and we’re in the unusual position where we are taking on temps.’


The stats - number of unemployed architects


DateSought occupationUsual occupation
June 20091,7101,780
July 20091,9051,985
August 20091,9952,055
September 20091,9301,975
October 20091,7301,765
November 20091,5801,595
December 20091,4451,455
January 20101,4101,430
February 20101,3651,385
March 20101,2951,305
April 20101,2151,230
May 20101,1251,125
June 20101,0801,055
data rounded to nearest 5.  


Read the Architects’ dole claim statistics from January 2005

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