Tom Lowe - Building
The latest RIBA survey says one third of firms expect workloads to increase. There are now more architects feeling optimistic about future workloads for the first time in four months, according to the latest RIBA Future Trends survey.
The workload index rose to +3 in July, ending a four month spell in negative territory which included a record low of -82 in April – the first full month of the covid-19 lockdown.
Source: Philip Vile
The RIBA says one third of firms expect workloads to increase in the coming quarter
The latest figures show that 31% of practices expect workloads to increase over the next three months, with 42% saying they will remain the same. The survey said 20% of architectural staff have been furloughed although just 1% have been made redundant.
All sectors returned improved figures in July with sentiment about private housing rising to +17 from -3 in June. The commercial sector stayed in the red but confidence ticked up to -15 from a score of -32. And public sector confidence rose to -4 from -12.
It added that 8% of firms expect staffing levels to increase in the coming quarter. But 26% of jobs have been on hold since March and nearly two-thirds of those surveyed said they expect profit to fall in the coming year with 7% conceding they expect their practices to remain unviable.
London and the Midlands and East Anglia are also still languishing in negative territory, despite surges in optimism elsewhere in England and Wales.
Future Work Uncertain
RIBA head of economic research and analysis Adrian Malleson warned that workloads for many practices consist mainly of pre-pandemic commissions and future work remains uncertain. He added:
“As the UK enters its first recession in 11 years, we can expect further caution from clients to commit to new projects, and confidence in future workloads may be affected.”
In last month’s survey, 14% of practices in London said that they did not expect to survive the impact of the pandemic.
Change in Approach
While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. And as ‘OffSite Hub” notes, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something we have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process
Learn & Earn with DfMA
Applying DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) to lightweight structures defines the process of taking these to the next level. For example, standard designs from our very low rise ‘SolidLox’ brand enable us to provide buildings that do not require massive foundations and which can avoid harming tree roots while delivering on time and within budget.
Such projects require a systematic, solution driven approach which brings discipline to the process, sharing information and communications.; a welcome change in the overall approach to project management and development – and to those who just ‘talk about it’!
Saving Waste – from Concept to Clearance
Modular Off-site MMC SIP & Timber Frame structures provide excellent ways to save waste and deliver top energy rated homes. Working with architects, planners and environmentalists to satisfy all types of design, we are already well on the way to incorporating waste reduction measures into our procedures and processes. This means our ‘Volumetric’ and ‘Flat pack’ modular building solutions envisaging ultimate demolition and clearance can ‘tread lightly on the earth’ as we adapt business innovations and developments to environmental needs.
Partnering for Modular Progress
All of this entails a shift in thinking to that already practiced by established ‘Off-Site’ MMC manufacturers. It can be quickly and easily incorporated into procedures and processes of building and development. Better still, you can make partnering arrangements with such manufacturers to gain all round benefits.
Greater Speed, Accuracy, Quality and Lower Costs
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and manufacturers will deliver these. The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’ gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.
Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame “ now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results. This virtually provides any housebuilder or architect with their own bespoke design factory facility.