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Architect workloads across the country experienced a surprisingly significant increase in November, rising to +27 from +18 in October within the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index.

Architects working in all regions of the UK returned to positive balance figures despite it being a notoriously quiet period ahead of the festive season, indicating an encouraging time ahead for 2016.

The larger practices (with more than 50 staff) remain the most positive about their future prospects with a workload index figure of +100, compared with medium-sized (11-50 staff) and small (1-10 staff) practices with +32 and +24 index figures respectively.

The private sector work remained unchanged in November at a workload index figure of +25 and public and community sector forecasts also remain unchanged at -3 and +3 index figures respectively.

The biggest winner last month was the commercial sector which saw workload forecasts rise from +7 in October to +14 in November.

Adrian Dobson, executive director members, RIBA, said: “Commentary from our participating practices is generally upbeat as we look ahead to 2016.

“We have seen further evidence of increases in fee levels, as well as confirmation that practices are finding it is taking more time to recruit new staff with appropriate skills while the employment market continues to improve.

“A few practices sound a note of caution that increases in construction tender prices are leading some clients to question the viability of projects moving into the construction phase.”

RIBA’s Future Staffing Trends Index has also recovered lost ground, increasing to a balance figure of +14 in November from +9 in October. Meanwhile, only two per cent of architectural practices surveyed anticipate having fewer staff at the end of the next quarter.

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