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Architects’ optimism highest since early 2017

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Architects are more confident about their prospects for future work than at any point since January 2017

The RIBA Future Trends Workload index continued its recent positive trend in May, rising from to +24 from +13 in April.

London practices are the least optimistic at +16 but their mood is back in positive territory after returning a -1 result in April.

RIBA executive director for members, Adrian Dobson, said: ‘Commentary received from our participating practices continues to suggest a reasonably steady work flow and the overall mood music remains cautiously optimistic, but many practices report fee levels are still under pressure because of the highly competitive market for our services.’

Practices in the North of England were the most optimistic, recording a figure of +46 during May.

For large practices overall, the index reached +80, with +25 for medium-sized practices and +23 for small firms.

The private housing sector workload forecast rose to +22, the commercial sector rose to +11 and the public sector rose to +3.

Only the community sector workload forecast saw a negative movement, falling to +3 in May 2018, down from +7 in April.

The rise in optimism was also reflected in the staffing forecast, which rose from +1 to +12 over the month. This represents the difference between practices expecting more work and those expecting less.

However, practices surveyed by RIBA said they were currently employing 12 per cent fewer students than at the same time last year.

A statement from the RIBA said: ‘It is not yet clear whether this is a developing trend, nor whether it relates to a dip in the number of suitable candidates, or just greater caution on the part of employers.’


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