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Commercial clients increasingly nervous says RIBA survey

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Architects have reported increasing nervousness among their commercial clients, according to the latest RIBA Future Trends survey

While the October 2017 workload survey saw architects’ confidence in the overall market for their services remain steady, the commercial sector workload forecast fell back slightly from +7 in September to +5 last month.

RIBA executive director for members Adrian Dobson said: ‘While overall levels of workload again remain steady, there is a weakening in general business confidence that is leading to greater caution among clients in the commercial sector.

‘Practices in this field fear that businesses are commissioning fewer new commercial developments, and some practices have also commented that they are having to invest greater resourcing in chasing outstanding fees.’

The institute’s index figure, based on the state of the profession in early 2009, showed a  +17 figure – the same as in September, having risen from +11 in August. The private housing sector remains the most buoyant, with confidence levels unchanged at +18.

However, the public and community sectors both fell into negative territory in October.

The Midlands and East Anglia, both of which had a balance figure of +50 remain the most optimistic about medium-term workload prospects.

In London, the rating fell into negative territory, slumping to -4 from +7 last month.

However, the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index, which measures expectations of increases in permanent staffing levels, rose to +9 from +5.

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