Log in | Register

Architects admit fears in key barometer for the built environment

Words: Huw Morris

Architects’ confidence with their workloads has dropped to its lowest level for three years with more than half of practices also admitting they have made no preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

Latest research by the Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) shows 57 per cent of practices admitted that they have made no plans of any sort, with only 5 per cent intending to do so. Only 7 per cent have made preparations across all areas where disruption is anticipated, despite government advice to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

RIBA’s Future Trends monthly survey, a barometer of market confidence for the built environment, also reveals that confidence dropped four points in September from a balance figure of 0 in August to -4. This is only the fourth time since 2013 that the index has fallen into negative territory.

London and south of England firms are the most downbeat about future workloads. Practices in the capital fell seven points to -15 while the south of England recorded -8. Workload predictions in the north of England also fell significantly from +29 to just +6.

Wales and the West were the only regions where sentiment improved, rising from -15 to 0.

September also saw an overall drop in confidence across all work sectors. Private housing fell six points to -4, commercial declined by one point to -6, and the community sector fell to -10, the same figure recorded for the public sector, which is down four points from the previous month.

RIBA said the negative impacts of Brexit range from client uncertainty to wider concerns about the supply of materials and labour.

Clients remain cautious, projects are failing to move beyond early-stage design, and there are fewer enquiries, it added.

Image credit | Shutterstock