"In terms of geographical analysis the highest balance figures were in Scotland (+50), the South of England (+41) and London (+40), but all UK nations and regions remain positive about future workloads, again reflecting a widespread increase in confidence levels," RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson stated.
Medium-sized practices (11-50 staff) were the most optimistic about prospects for workloads over the next quarter, returning a balance figure of +45.
The private housing sector workload forecast slightly decreased to +29 in November 2013, down from +34 in October 2013, but private housing remains by far the most buoyant of the sector forecasts. The commercial sector workload forecast was unchanged at +18 in November 2013, with continuing positive signals about improvements in this key sector.
Practices remain cautious about the short term prospects for the public sector; which had an unchanged workload forecast at +3 this month. The community sector workload forecast saw a small rise to +7 in November 2013 up from a balance figure of +3 in October 2013.
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index stands at +11 in November 2013, down slightly from +14 in October 2013. Large practices (50+ staff) continue to be the most confidence about their ability to sustain higher staffing levels in the medium term, but practices in all size categories predict an overall increase in the work force.
In November 2013, the percentage of our respondents reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month was 19%, suggesting that there remains significant spare capacity within the architects' profession.
Anecdotal feedback suggests that architects are continuing to see an increase in enquiries which is slowly being reflected in a modest overall upswing in actual workloads. At the same time it is clear that fee competition remains intense and there is little evidence yet of any widespread upward market pressures on fee levels.