September 25, 2013
The commercial architecture sector is forecast for steady growth throughout 2013 according to the latest Future Trends Survey by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The survey, which uses an index to gauge workloads, reports that all sector forecasts remained in positive territory, with the workload balance figure for the commercial sector moving further into positive territory, (to +9). All categories of practices by size, and all the nations and regions in the UK, returned positive workload forecast balance figures in August 2013, suggesting that the sustained improvement in confidence levels is widespread and no longer confined to particular sectors and geographical locations.
RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: “The continuing confidence from our members about future workloads for the commercial sector is a very welcome development; increase in activity in this key sector is central to any overall recovery in workloads towards pre-recessionary levels.”
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index fell marginally to +3 in August 2013, compared with +5 in July 2013, remaining positive for a fifth consecutive month. The index for temporary staffing increased this month to +12. Overall practices, particularly large practices (50+ staff), seem to becoming increasingly confident about their ability to sustain slightly higher staffing levels going forwards.”
Anecdotal commentary suggests that many practices are beginning to see a pickup in the level of enquiries and the numbers of projects moving forward to contract. However, the overall landscape continues to be very mixed, with on-going reports of intense fee competition and concerns about the complexity and barriers to entry for public sector work.