The latest Future Trends Workload Index from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed confidence and optimism among London’s architectural professionals have hit a three-month high after experiencing a dip in the summer.
Furthermore, the national average of architects’ confidence also reached a three-month high at a figure of +17, up from +11 in August and +14 in July. Despite the confidence returning to the capital’s architects, they remained most cautious about future workloads, recording a positive balance figure of +7; somewhat lower than architectural practices in the north of England (+29) and in the Midlands and East Anglia (+26).
Nevertheless, that positive balance figure represents a solid turnaround for workload confidence in the capital, after London-based architects plummeted into negative territory (-6) in August. Private housing projects remain the most positive facet of architects’ workloads nationwide, recording a score of +18 in September, down one from August.
However, confidence in commercial projects experienced a modest increase, up from +2 in August to +7 in September. Architects’ confidence regarding public sector projects remained static, with a flatline score of zero.
Adrian Dobson, executive director for members, RIBA, said of the figures: “Whilst workloads are steady, there is anecdotal evidence of a weakening in general business confidence that is beginning to become evident in the architectural market.
“Private investors, whether homeowners or commercial developers remain active, but the public and community sectors are still at a relatively low ebb, so any weakening in overall private sector confidence is obviously a concern.”
Meanwhile, RIBA’s Future Trends Staffing Index remained unchanged in September, remaining at +5. On the whole, most architectural practices across the UK anticipate their permanent staffing levels to stay the same or increase during the next quarter.