Productivity within architecture practices across Australia has been hammered during COVID-19, the latest survey has found.

The Association of Consulting Architects (ACA) has released preliminary results of its third ‘pulse check’ of architecture practices throughout the country, for which 453 firms responded who collectively employ more than 4,520 full time equivalent technical staff and over 600 full-time-equivalent casual technical staff

It found that productivity has been impacted during COVID-19, although most firms anticipate a return to normal fairly quickly.

Of the 418 firms who responded to a question about COVID’s effect on their productivity, only 58 (14 percent) said productivity in their practice has increased during the period.

Meanwhile, more than half (53 percent) say their firm’s productivity has decreased by between 20 percent and 50 percent.

However, almost two thirds say their firm has either already returned to pre-COVID productivity levels or expects to do so in the near future.

Concerningly, nevertheless, just over one in five firms either never expect to return to pre-COVID productivity or expect to do so only slowly.

The survey also found that:

  • Of 415 firms who responded to a question about measures in support the mental wellbeing of their staff, just over half (223 firms) say they have measures in place whilst a further 20 percent (84 firms) were looking into this.
  • Almost half (49 percent) of firms who responded to a question about the wellbeing of practices say this is about the same now as prior to the commencement of the pandemic. Meanwhile, 26 percent say wellbeing within their firm is either better or much better compared with the start of the pandemic whilst 24 percent say it is either worse or much worse.
  • Of 419 firms who responded to a question about rating current mental wellbeing within their practices, more than three quarters (318 firms) say this is either good or very good whilst 37 firms say this is either slightly worrying or very worrying.

Conducted over four days from May 31 until June 3, the survey aims to enable the ACA to understand COVID’s impact on architecture practices and how the Association can support the profession.

Other survey findings include that many firms need more work and that large numbers are embracing safety measures as they reopen offices.