Confidence in London about future work prospects drops into negative territory

Confidence among architects about future work prospects has slumped according to RIBA’s latest monthly Future Trends survey.

The workload index dropped by over half from +23 in May to +10 in June. The drop in optimism was most marked in London which dipped into negative territory with a reading of -3, down from +12 in May.

The North is the most optimistic about medium term work prospects with a drop of just one point to +35.

Large practices are the most optimistic about future work prospects with a figure of +18 but small practices saw a 65% monthly fall in confidence to +8.

Private sector housing suffered the biggest monthly fall dropping ten points to +22 but remains the strongest work sector. RIBA said housing was buoyed by the bespoke housing and domestic extensions market for small practices.

Confidence about workload prospects in the commercial sector was less affected with a drop of three points to +4 with larger firms still confident about medium term work prospects. Confidence about the public sector slumped further into negative territory to -6.

Firms remain positive about the numbers of staff employed with the future staffing levels index dropping one point to +6.

RIBA executive director for members, Adrian Dobson, said the fall in confidence in June was largely driven by concern about macro-economic uncertainties including the general election result and the start of Brexit negotiations rather a dramatic change in workloads or the level of project enquiries. He said, “Time will tell whether this proves to be a temporary dip or an ongoing trend.” He added that demand for salaried architects remained healthy.