RIBA said the private housing sector was still expected to be the strongest performer during the next quarter
Despite the looming uncertainty around Brexit, UK architects appear to be upbeat about their prospects, according to new research.
RIBA’s latest monthly Future Trends workload index rose in March, from a net balance of +16 a month earlier to +22.
Architecture practices in Northern Ireland were the most optimistic about future workloads (+57), followed by Midlands and East Anglia (+37) and the North of England (+30).
Practices in London (+13) and the South of England (+6) trailed behind.
Medium-sized practices (11–50 staff) were more optimistic about future workloads, with a balance figure of +36, than either small or large practices (both at +20).
For the first time in more than a year, all four sector forecasts predicted growth. Riba said the private housing sector was still expected to be the strongest performer during the next quarter, despite a slight decline in the workload forecast (falling to +20 in March from +23 in February).
The public sector (+2) and community sector forecasts (+1) edged back into positive territory, with the commercial sector increasing to +9.
On staffing levels, the Future Trends staffing index increased to +12 in March, up from +9 in February. A mere 6% of practices expected to employ fewer staff in three months’ time.
Medium-sized practices were again the most positive about future staffing levels (+20), compared with large (+10) and small practices (+12).
RIBA’s executive director members, Adrian Dobson, said that despite looming economic and political uncertainties, “responding practices are expecting their pipeline of work to remain healthy in the medium-term” But he warned: “Anecdotal commentary suggests there are signs of practices being less confident about the longer term outlook.”