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Coronavirus Response Triggers Dramatic Drop In AIA's Architecture Billings Index

AIA-logoWashington, DC – Reflecting the deteriorating conditions in the overall economy, demand for design services from architecture firms recorded a record fall, according to a newly published report from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 33.3 for March reflects a major decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). During March, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores dropped dramatically, posting scores of 23.8 and 27.1 respectively.  

“Though most architecture firms have made quick transitions to remote operations, the complete shutdown of business activity is severely impacting architects,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The dramatic pullback in new and ongoing design projects reflects just how quickly and fundamentally business conditions have changed across the country and around the world in the last month as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Key ABI figures for March include:

• Regional averages: West (45.3); South (44.2); Midwest (44.2); Northeast (38.4)
• Sector index breakdown: institutional (46.9); multi-family residential (43.3); commercial/industrial (41.9); mixed practice (40.6)
• Project inquiries index: 23.8
• Design contracts index: 27.1

    The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-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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