Bigger firms eyeing infrastructure schemes

Confidence among architects remained flat in April, according to the RIBA’s latest monthly Future Trends survey.

The workload index stayed at the March score +22 with practices in the North of England (+48) the most optimistic while confidence amongst firms in the South of England rebounded from the +6 score registered in March to +29 for April.

But firms in London remain cautious, although the score of +17 was up four points on the March figure.

Medium-sized practices (11–50 staff) were more optimistic about future workloads, with a balance figure of +36.

The private housing and commercial sectors remained in positive territory but confidence about public sector workloads fell back into negative territory with a score of -5 from the +2 last time.

On staffing levels, the Future Trends index dipped to +9 in April from +12 the month before.

RIBA executive director members, Adrian Dobson, said larger practices were eyeing big infrastructure schemes as the upcoming government has pledged to invest in projects such as HS2, where Grimshaw has come up with plans for a new terminal (pictured) at Euston station in London and another Grimshaw scheme – the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

“It seems that infrastructure is likely to continue to be prioritised in terms of public sector capital investment and sectors such as transport and energy infrastructure are seen as increasingly important,” Dobson added.