RIBA data shows growing optimism in industry, but workloads still yet to reach 2008 levels

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Architects’ work levels have shown their first annual increase since 2009, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed.

The October 2013 RIBA Future Trends Survey, the results of which were published this month, also showed a future trend workload index increase of 9 points from the previous month, up to +35.

A growing optimism in future workloads was reported in all nations and regions of the UK.

Architects reported an 11% workload increase from October 2012 to October 2013, but remain a third below the early 2008 workload peak.

In terms of private housing, the workload balance figure increased to +34 over the previous month, up from +25, while the commercial sector saw a rise to +18 from the September 2013 report of +17. Public and community sectors both remained at a +3 workload forecast.

RIBA Director of Practice Adrian Dobson said: “All indications strongly suggest that this extremely challenging and lengthy recession in the market for architectural services is finally coming to an end.

“The overall balance of reporting suggests steadily growing confidence, with many practices reporting a notable increase in enquiries and dormant projects springing back into life.”

The RIBA Future Trends Staffing Index also increased significantly to +14 from the +7 reported in September, but 20% of respondents reported being under-employed, suggesting there may be an over capacity problem in architecture.