London firms stay cautious

Confidence among architects edged up in May, according to the RIBA’s latest monthly Future Trends survey.

The workload index went up to +23 from April’s score of +22 with practices in Northern Ireland the most confident with a score of +50.

Firms in the north of England and those in southern England were also optimistic with scores of +36 and +37 respectively.

But firms in London were more cautious with May’s score of +12 down five points from the figure recorded in April.

Practices of all sizes recorded positive scores with large practices (51 or more staff) the most optimistic with a score of +25.

The private housing and commercial sectors remained in positive territory but confidence about public sector workloads remained in negative territory.

On staffing levels, the Future Trends index dipped again to +7 from higher scores in April and March.

RIBA executive director for members, Adrian Dobson, said workloads in May remained stable with smaller-scale residential projects remaining buoyant.

But he warned there were signs that large-scale commercial schemes were slowing down. “Some of our respondents reported a cooling of the larger-scale commercial sector market,” he added.