Architects see increasing order books

09 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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