The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published the latest results of the monthly Future Trends Survey for August 2011.
The number of practices expecting more work in July saw a drop from 27% in July to 25% in August, whilst those expecting a drop in workload rose to 23%.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index remains unchanged at -3 in August 2011, with 9% of practices expecting staff levels to drop (compared to 12% in July) and 6% expecting an increase (compared to 9% in July). 22% of architects reported that they have personally been under-employed in August 2011, a 5% drop from 27% in July 2011.
The sector forecasts remain virtually unchanged this month: the private housing sector saw a 3% rise in the number of practices expecting work levels to grow (25% in August, compared to 22% in July). Practices expecting workload to remain constant in this sector fell from 61% in July to 57% in July. The commercial sector forecast saw little overall change, falling marginally to -2 in August 2011 from -1 in July 2011. The number of practices expecting workload to increase grew from 15% in July to 16% in August; there was no change in the number of practices predicting less commercial work this month, which remained constant at 17%. The outlook for the public sector workload remains the most pessimistic, with no further change to the balance figure of -23. In August, 29% of practices expected a fall in workload, compared to 30% in July; only 5% expected an increase in workload, compared to 6% in July.
The statistical analysis of the survey enables the RIBA to regularly report on two key confidence tracking indices relating to future workloads and staffing levels. For August 2011, the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index is +2 (compared to +5 in July), and the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index again remains unchanged at -3 in August.
"Although the RIBA Future Trends Workload Index for August 2011 just remains in positive territory at +2, this represents a fall from +5 in July 2011 and indicates an overall drop in confidence levels this month about future workloads for the UK architects' profession," explained Adrian Dobson, RIBA Director of Practice.
"The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index is unchanged for the second consecutive month at -3 in August 2011, reinforcing anecdotal evidence of little activity in the employment market for salaried architects. When asked about how the number of temporary staff employed will change over the next three months our practices where slightly more positive (balance figure +1). 22% of our respondents reported that they have personally been under-employed in August 2011, representing a significant improvement from the July figure of 27%.
Practices based in London (balance figure +9) remain more optimistic about growth in workloads over the next quarter than those in the rest of the UK. Practices in Scotland (balance figure -13) and Northern Ireland (balance figure -25) are least confident about future levels of work."