The RIBA’s monthly Future Trends Survey was launched in January 2009 to
monitor business and employment trends affecting the architects’ profession.
Participants give monthly predictions for overall workload and staffing levels
over the next three months, and are also asked about their workload predictions
in key sectors: private housing, commercial, community and public sector. Practices
are also asked on a quarterly basis about their current workload and staffing
levels. The Survey is carried out by the RIBA in partnership with the Fees Bureau.
The following is a summary analysis of the results from the
February 2014 Survey returns.
Future workload (February 2014)
How do you expect the architectural workload in the organisation you work in or own to change over the next three months?
|Stay the same
(The definition for the balance figure is the difference between those expecting more work and those expecting less.)
The RIBA Future Trends Workload Index saw another significant
increase this month, rising to an all-time high of +41 in February 2014 from +36
in January 2014, with confidence levels about future workloads continuing to
In terms of geographical analysis all of the UK nations and
regions returned very positive balance figures for future workload forecasts;
the highest figures were in London (balance figure +54) and Scotland (balance
Similarly, in terms of practice size, small (1 – 10 staff), medium
(10 – 50 staff) and large-sized practices(51+ staff) are all reporting very
positive balance figures, suggesting that overall workload prospects continue to
improve across the board.
The following graph plots the RIBA Future Workload Index over time:
In terms of sector analysis, the private housing sector workload
forecast continues to be the most buoyant, increasing to +40 in March 2014 from
+35 in January 2014. The commercial sector workload forecast (balance figure
+16) and the public sector workload forecast (balance figure +8) also both saw
small rises this month. However, the community sector workload forecast fell
back slightly to +5 in January 2014 from +10 in January 2014.
The current growth is largely being driven by a widespread
strengthening of the private housing sector across the UK and a pick-up in
commercial projects, particularly in London.
The following graph tracks the sector predictions in the RIBA Future Trends
Survey over time:
Future staffing levels (February 2014)
How do you think the number of permanent architectural staff employed in your organisation will change over the next three months?
|Stay the same
(The definition for the balance figure is the difference between
those expecting to employ more permanent staff in the next three months and
those expecting to employ fewer.)
The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index increased significantly this
month, standing at +13 In February 2014 compared with +6 in January 2014, but
the majority of practices (79%) expecting their staffing levels to stay the same
during the next quarter.
There still appears to be significant spare capacity within the
architects’ profession, and in February 2014 the percentage of our respondents
reporting that they had personally been under-employed in the last month
increased by one percentage point to 19%, suggesting that around one fifth of
the profession is still working below maximum capacity, and perhaps offering
some explanation as to why aggregate staffing levels have not yet increased by
any significant extent.
The following graph plots the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index over time:
The following graph plots the RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index
over time: Anecdotal commentary received continues to paint a picture of a
widespread pick up in the level of enquiries and new commissions, and an
increase in the amount of work progressing beyond planning. However, our
practices continue to report a very competitive market for their services,
particularly for smaller scale projects, and little sign of any reduction in
pressure on fee levels.
The RIBA Future Trends Survey is based on a representative
sample of the range of different practice sizes and geographical locations which
enables analysis of the trends in sectors, size groups and by nation and region.
A total of 225 practices took part in the Survey in February 2014. The development of a larger database
of respondents will increase the statistical accuracy of the survey, and if
your practice would like to participate in future months, please contact the
RIBA Practice Department on 020 7307 3749 or email email@example.com.
The survey takes approximately five minutes to complete each month, and all
returns are independently processed in strict confidence by our partners the