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RIBA survey: Architects start 2018 in positive mood

Upward graph increase recovery economy
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Architects started 2018 expecting an increase in work, new RIBA research has revealed

Of more than 200 practices surveyed in December, 28 per cent anticipated getting busier over the first quarter of this year.

With 20 per cent expecting a decrease and the remainder predicting no change in work levels, the RIBA’s Future Trends Workload Index registered +8.

It is too early to tell how the liquidation of construction giant Carillion this month will affect confidence. Industry figures have warned that hundreds of architects could be affected by the collapse of the £4 billion turnover firm.

Practices in the north of England were the most upbeat in December, closely followed by those in the Midlands and East Anglia. Firms in London were pessimistic, with an overall expectation of reduced workloads.

The private housing sector workload forecast remained the most positive and continued to drive demand alongside the commercial sector. Community and public work were expected to drop slightly.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index bounced back, standing at +5 in December, although four-fifths of practices anticipated no change in staffing levels.

Both the future workloads and future staffing indexes returned to positive territory after a dip into negative figures in November.

RIBA executive director Adrian Dobson said: ‘December’s commentary provides a more positive picture, with many practices forecasting an increase in future workloads.

‘The private housing refurbishment and extension market remains generally brisk for many, however, a number of larger practices continue to report that Brexit uncertainty is putting a brake on development investment.

‘Low price competition from non-architect purveyors of architectural services also continues to be a talking point for a number of correspondents.’

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