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Sharp downturn in private sector housing income drives down fees

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Architects’ fees fell in 2014, with a surprise 8.4 per cent drop in income from private sector housing work, new figures show

Across all sectors, fees dipped by 1 per cent in the 12 months to July 2014, according to a report by The Fees Bureau. Income from the public and commercial sectors grew slightly during the period and there was also a 3 per cent rise in architects’ hourly rates. But these gains were offset by the significant fall in revenues from private housing work.

A Fees Bureau spokesman said: ‘The contradictory movements – fees unchanged or lower while hourly rates are up – might be down to a difference between what architects are aiming to charge and what they are being forced to charge.’

The annual survey converts data submitted by UK private architects into an inflation-adjusted index, which uses fee levels at the turn of the millennium (represented by 100) as its baseline. This year the cross-sector index fell from 102 to 101, while the private housing index plummeted from 107 to 98 – its lowest ever level.

Architects’ poor performance in the residential market contrasted with new government figures indicating an 8 per cent rise in residential planning applications decided by councils in the period between 2012-13 and 2013-14.

However, Design for Homes chief David Birkbeck dismissed these government figures, claiming they masked a steep drop in planning applications at the start of this year. He said: ‘I have spoken to a number of architects who said they were encouraged to get applications in before the end of 2013. Because local elections were being held in May, a lot of developers did not want their schemes to be considered in the period leading up to polling.’

For more information about The Fees Bureau, click here.



Sharp downturn in private sector housing income drives down fees

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