But RIBA survey says impact of Brexit is still unknown

Architect's drawing board.

Source: IStock

Architects’ optimism about upcoming work is now above the level recorded before last year’s EU referendum, the result of which sent confidence crashing into negative territory for the first time since 2012.

The latest RIBA Future Trends index for the first month of this year rose another seven points to +24 continuing the rise from November’s score of +9.

The score means optimism is now higher than the +22 recorded in June last year – the month when the referendum was held – and approaching the +30 recorded in May last year. But the figure is still some way off the record +44 score recorded in June 2015.

Practices of all sizes expected to see an increase in workloads with larger firms – those employing 51 staff or more – the most confident.

Practices in northern England, the south and Wales and the west were the most optimistic with those in London remaining the most cautious.

Private housing and commercial remain the key sectors for the profession with confidence about public sector work remaining in the doldrums with a score of -6.

While confidence has increased again, RIBA executive director members Adrian Dobson said the impact of Brexit was still to be properly felt.

“We have yet to see whether Brexit will have a significant economic impact on architects’ work in the long-term,” he added.

The staffing rose to +8 in January from the previous month’s while 94% of practices said they expected their staffing levels to increase or stay the same over the next quarter.