Results from the most comprehensive post-referendum survey of architects have been published by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The RIBA Members Brexit Survey results give an insight into the major concerns and opportunities from architects across the industry.

  • 60% of architects have seen projects delayed, cancelled or scaled back
  • 40% of UK-based non-British EU nationals are now considering leaving the country
  • Architects think Brexit offers chance of wholescale reform of the UK’s inefficient public procurement system
  • Strong support amongst architects to maintain high product and environmental standards and ensure that UK architects’ qualifications continue to be recognised in the EU and are in future recognised in other key markets too.

Over 65% of architects are concerned about the impact of Brexit on their business and any uncertainty is unsettling. However, as agile and business-savvy professionals, architects have been quick to see the potential industry benefits from the UK exiting the European Union. From trade agreements with new markets, reform of the UK’s public procurement system and increased public sector and private sector investment, our members have made it clear that with the right decisions the short-term impacts of Brexit can be mitigated, and the UK can position itself as a global facing nation.

In response to the concerns and opportunities raised by its chartered members, RIBA has today published a set of five priority recommendations for Government: Global by Design: How the government can open up new opportunities for UK architects. In order to maintain and strengthen the UK as a global hub for architecture, the Government must ensure the UK:

  • Has access to the best talent and skills
  • Signs trade agreements that open access to foreign markets
  • Provides support for education, research and innovation
  • Takes action to address the UK’s competitiveness crisis including infrastructure investment
  • Maintains common standards and low compliance costs.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said “Architects recognise that the UK must shape a new role for itself after we exit the EU – and we are already responding to that challenge. But we need leadership and support from the Government if the UK is going to maintain and strengthen its role as a global centre for architecture, responsible for innovative and inspiring buildings in the UK and across the world.

“To do that we need the Government to secure the agreements that ensure that our qualifications continue to be recognised in the EU and increasing access to new markets outside of the EU, maintain high common product and environmental standards consistent with brand UK abroad and address the structural challenges that threaten the UK’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest.”

“I’m pleased that the Government’s Brexit White Paper highlights a number of the key issues that we’ve been raising with ministers, but there is still a long way to go – particularly on the issue of who can work here. We can’t shut our doors to talent and expect the world to open its markets to us. The UK needs an immigration system that recognises the benefits and importance of the UK being an attractive place to work for ambitious architects from around the world. It’s vitally important that the Government acts to confirm that those already working and studying in the UK will be able to remain.”

The RIBA Members Brexit Survey report and the RIBA’s Brexit recommendations, Global by design: How the government can open up new opportunities for UK architects, can be viewed at