London firms stay cautious, while Northern Ireland emerges as most confident region

Confidence among architects edged up in May, according to the RIBA’s latest monthly Future Trends survey.

The workload index went up to +23 from April’s score of +22, with practices in Northern Ireland the most confident with a score of +50.

Firms in the North of England and those in southern England were also optimistic with scores of +36 and +37 respectively.

But firms in London were more cautious, with May’s score of +12 down five points from the figure recorded in April.

Practices of all sizes recorded positive scores, with large practices (51 or more staff) the most optimistic with a score of +25.

The private housing and commercial sectors remained in positive territory but confidence about public sector workloads remained in negative territory.

On staffing levels, the Future Trends index dipped again to +7 from higher scores in April and March.

RIBA executive director members, Adrian Dobson, said workloads in May remained stable with smaller-scale residential projects remaining buoyant.

But he warned there were signs that large scale commercial schemes were slowing down. “Some of our respondents reported a cooling of the larger-scale commercial sector market,” he added.