Architects recover confidence in private housebuilding

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Future Trends workload index was unchanged in September 2016, with a balance figure of +8.

The figure shows that while confidence has stabilised and is in positive territory, it is still lower than levels recorded prior to the UK referendum on membership of the EU.

However, the private housing sector forecast made a significant recovery, rising to +16 (from +7 in August 2016). While moving back into positive territory, the forecast for the commercial sector remains modest at +1.

“September’s survey shows a mixed picture,” said Adrian Dobson, RIBA Executive Director Members. “A small number of practices have reported a Brexit-related slow-down in projects, with some cancellations. However, many other respondents showed signs of resilience, especially in the bespoke housing market.”

Practices in the Midlands and East Anglia (+17) and North of England (+13) were the most optimistic about increasing work in the medium-term.

Large practices expected to see a reduction in workloads (–14). However, small and medium-sized practices expected to see workloads increase.

The public sector (–1) and community sector (–1) forecasts changed little in September. The outlook for public sector work remains steady rather than dynamic, with little prospect of rapid growth in overall public sector capital spending levels.

The RIBA Future Trends staffing index fell to zero in September 2016, with few practices expecting to increase their staffing levels over the next quarter

As with the workload index, large practices were the least optimistic about increasing staff levels.

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