Optimism reaches three-month high

The latest RIBA Future Trends workload index shows that confidence has returned to the capital after a big slump in the summer.

And nationally, the index climbed to a three-month high in September. The figure of +17 is up from scores of +11 in August and +14 in July.

Practices in London were the most cautious about future workloads, with a balance figure of +7, compared to those working outside the capital where optimism in the north of England saw a figure of +29 and a +26 figure recorded for Midlands and East Anglia.

But this represented a massive turnaround in confidence in the capital which in August was plumbing negative territory with a score of -6.

Private housing remains the sector architects are most positive about with a score of +18 in September, down marginally from the +19 recorded in August.

Confidence about the commercial market increased to +7 from +2 but optimism about public sector work stayed stuck in the doldrums with a score of zero.

But RIBA executive director for members Adrian Dobson warned: “While workloads are steady, there is anecdotal evidence of a weakening in general business confidence that is beginning to become evident in the architectural market.”