Architects see increasing order books

By Helen Wright09 August 2013

Architects in the UK reported increasing order books in the three months to the end of June, marking the fifth quarter in a row of reported rises.

This is part of the findings from The European Architectural Barometer Report – research carried out quarterly by Arch-Vision among 1,600 architects in eight European countries.

But Arch-Vision said that, while stabilisation can also be seen in Germany, Belgium and France, there was still little encouragement elsewhere in Europe, particularly Italy.

The report said 45% of respondents in the UK said they saw their order book increase in the second quarter of 2013. Turnover was also increasing, according to 46% of the architects surveyed.

However, confidence of a stable improvement remained weak, and 27% of architects questioned in the UK said they expected an empty order book in the next 12 months, compared to 16% in the first quarter. Arch-Vision forecast a 2% rise in the UK architecture market in 2013, and an increase of 1% in both 2014 and 2015.

Meanwhile in Germany, respondents reported positive order book and turnover development, and only 3% said they expected an empty order book. The market is expected to grow 1% this year and 2% next year in Germany, followed by 3% in 2015.

In Belgium, the number of the architects reporting a stable order book and turnover also increased. Only 6% of the architects said they expected to have an empty order book within the coming 12 months.

In France, the order book and turnover of a small number of architects had improved in comparison with the first three months of the year, with 15% of respondents reporting an increase in order book or turnover.

Arch-Vision said it was difficult to say whether this was the beginning of positive developments in the French market, or just a temporary situation. Nevertheless, there was a growing feeling of optimism among French architects, with 14% expecting an empty order book for the next year, down from 22% in the first quarter.

Arch-Vision forecast that the French construction market would not change in 2013, and would grow 1% in 2014 and 2% 2015.

In Spain, however, the barometer for the second quarter showed no real signs of improvement. While 14% of Spanish architects saw their order books improve, 41% claimed that their order book deteriorated even further compared to the first quarter. On top of that, 44% of respondents said they expected an empty order book for the next year, albeit an improvement on the 49% who expected this in the first quarter.

Arch-Vision forecast a further 6% decline in the Spanish construction market for 2013, while it said 2014 would see a 3% decrease and 2015 would bring a 1% increase.

Italian woes

In Italy, 76% of the architects surveyed reported declining order books compared to the first quarter, while less than 5% saw an increase. In addition, 52% of Italian architects expected an empty order book for the next 12 months.

Arch-Vision said Italy would probably need more than six years to start showing significantly better results. It forecast that the market would shrink by 10% this year, followed by a further 8% decline in 2014 and a 6% fall in 2015.

Meanwhile in Holland, 48% of architects reported a decrease in order books in the second quarter, and 31% expected an empty order book for the next year. Arch-Vision said a 4% decline in 2013 was on the cards, followed by a further 1% drop in 2014. But in 2015 the market was forecast to rise 1%.

Finally in Poland, 46% of architects reported falling order books in the second quarter. There was a small increase of architects that expected an empty order book within the next 12 months, from 31% of respondents in the first quarter to 33% in the three months to the end of June.

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