Architects’ confidence in the private housing and commercial sectors is beginning to return, according to a RIBA survey

The RIBA’s sixth monthly “Future Trends” survey also shows that the damaging job cuts of recent months are beginning to bottom out. The number of architects claiming benefits has risen seven-fold in the past 12 months.

Almost a third of practices (31%) said they expected their workload to rise in the next three months, and 48% said they expected it to stay level. Only 21% said they expected their workload to decrease.

Confidence in the private housing and commercial sectors is higher than at any point since the beginning of the year, the survey found.

Three in four architects (75%) said their staffing numbers would remain the same in the next three months. Only 16% predicted their number of staff would decrease, and 8% said it would increase.

It was not all good news. The practices surveyed said that overall their workload had dropped by 31% since last year, and there was a significant decrease in the average amount of work done overseas. The survey is drawn from over 120 architects’ practices of differing sizes.

Adrian Dobson, the head of large practice at the RIBA, said the results indicated a “bounce back” for the sector. He said: “The private housing result was the most surprising. That area was hit so badly, and for our members to see it returning is very positive.”