Workload barometer back in the black but firms in capital still fretting

Architects’ confidence returned last month after collapsing in the first weeks following the EU referendum in June.

The RIBA Future Trends survey for August rose to +8 from the -7 score recorded the month before. But the latest figure is still some way off the +22 chalked up in June – before the June 23 referendum.

Practices based in London were the least optimistic, predicting a decrease in architectural workloads to record a score of -6. But firms in the north of England, East Anglia and the Midlands were more positive.

Large practices are still the most anxious about sustaining workloads over the next three months, with a balance figure of -17.

Private housing remained the strongest of the sector forecasts, with a balance figure of +7. The forecasts for the commercial, community and public sector stayed in negative territory.

RIBA executive director for members Adrian Dobson said: “Commentary from participating practices is still being driven by Brexit-related uncertainty.

“A small number of practices have again reported projects cancelled or postponed as a direct or indirect result of the referendum outcome. It is likely that the workload index will remain volatile as the full implications of the UK’s changing relationship with the EU emerge.”