Architects braced for decline in workload

The RIBA Future Trends Survey for June 2016, which was carried out prior to the EU Referendum, revealed a drop in the workload index (balance figure falling to +22, down from +30 in May). This moderate fall seems to have been driven at least partly by uncertainty around the outcome of the UK referendum on EU membership.

Despite this, all nations and regions of the UK returned positive balance figures, with the north of England remaining the most optimistic. Large practices remained more confident about future workloads than either small or medium-sized practices.

The private housing sector and commercial sector forecasts fell (standing at +19 and +11 respectively). Meanwhile, the public sector forecast (+3) and community sector forecast (-3) changed little.

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index for June 2016 increased slightly to +14 (up from +11 in May). Medium-sized practices were most optimistic about increasing staff levels, with a balance figure of +50, compared with +36 for large practices and +8 for small practices.

RIBA Executive Director Members Adrian Dobson said, “The survey for June was carried out in the period immediately before the EU referendum. Many reported trepidation about the uncertainty surrounding the referendum and the potential impact on future workloads. However, few reported any direct impact on the level of new orders at the time of the survey.

“It is only in the coming months that we can get an idea of any referendum effect on workloads and employment levels for architects.”

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