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Architects' confidence stabilises but bigger practices remain nervous

Manchester Charrette
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Confidence among architects on their future workloads has stabilised but is still lower than before the EU referendum vote, according to new figures on industry sentiment

The latest RIBA Future Trends workload index remained unchanged in September at +8. However, large practices expect to see a reduction in workloads with an index of -14, according to the survey.

RIBA executive director for members, Adrian Dobson, said: ‘September’s survey shows a mixed picture. A small number of practices have reported a Brexit-related slow-down in projects, with some cancellations.

‘However, many other respondents showed signs of resilience, especially in the bespoke housing market.’

The figures also revealed that practices in the Midlands and East Anglia (both +17) and the North of England (+13) were the most optimistic about increasing work in the medium term.

Forecasts for public sector work (-1) remained roughly steady in September, with RIBA saying there is little prospect of a rapid growth in government capital spending levels.

The private housing sector forecast made a significant recovery, rising to +16 from +7 in August 2016. However, the forecast for the commercial sector was a modest +1.

The part of the survey relating to staffing showed that few practices are expecting to increase headcount over the coming quarter.

The RIBA Future Trends Survey has been carried out in association with the Fees Bureau since 2009.

Read a full commentary on the latest figures by Adrian Dobson here

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