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AIA Billings Index Signals Heightened Demand For Design Services

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Washington, DC – With all geographic regions and building project sectors showing positive conditions, there continues to be a heightened level of demand for design services signaled in the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 55.2, up from a mark of 53.0 in August. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

VIDEO: Click here for brief overview of recent ABI conditions from AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker

The AIA has added a new indicator measuring the trends in new design contracts at architecture firms that can provide a strong signal of the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in September was 56.8.

“Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.”

Key September ABI highlights:

    • Regional averages: South (55.3) , Midwest (55.1), West (54.2), Northeast (51.0)

    • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.3), institutional (54.9), mixed practice (53.8), commercial / industrial (50.8)

    • Project inquiries index: 64.8

    • Design contracts index: 56.8

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

About The American Institute Of Architects

For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. For more information, visit www.aia.org.

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