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Demand for Design Services Decreases Considerably

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THE MOST RECENT REPORT:  NOVEMBER 2022

 

WASHINGTON – November 16, 2022 – Demand for design services from architecture firms softened considerably in October, according to a new report from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for October was 47.7, the first decline in billings since January 2021 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Inquiries into new projects continued to grow in October with a score of 52.3, while the value of new design contracts declined, with a score of 48.6.

“Economic headwinds have been steadily mounting, and finally led to weakening demand for new projects,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Firm backlogs are healthy and will hopefully provide healthy levels of design activity against fewer new projects entering the pipeline should this weakness persist.”

Key ABI highlights for October include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (50.8); South (50.6); Northeast (50.3); West (49.6)

  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (54.3); mixed practice (50.8); multi-family residential (46.1); commercial/industrial (45.9)

Since the regional and sector categories are calculated as three-month moving averages, while the national billings index, design contracts and inquiries are reported as monthly numbers, the regional and sector scores may not always average out to the national score.

 

Interpreting the ABI:

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is a leading economic indicator for nonresidential construction activity, with a lead time of approximately 9–12 months. The index is derived from The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Work-on-the-Boards survey, which has gathered data on shifts in billings from architectural firm leaders for over 20 years.

The survey panel asks participating architectural firms whether billings increased, decreased or stayed the same in the month that just ended. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month.

  • An index score of 50 indicates no change in firm billings versus the previous month.
  • A score above 50 indicates an increase in firm billings versus the previous month.
  • A score below 50 indicates an decrease in firm billings versus the previous month.
  • NOTE: Index numbers cited for the last three reported months are preliminary.
  • The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.

 

Source:  The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

National Architecture Billings Index

Source: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

RELATED: Historical ABI Data 2008 - 2020 »

 

 

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Regional Architecture Billings Index

(Three month rolling average)

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Source: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

Sector-Specific Architecture Billings Index

Three-month rolling average

Commercial/Industrial
Buildings related to commerce and industry. Office space, banks, retail, factories, etc.

Institutional
Schools, civic/government buildings, museums, hospitals, etc.

Multifamily Residential
Town homes, apartment complexes, condominiums, etc.

Mixed Practice
Buildings that include both residential and commercial/industrial spaces.

Source: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

 

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