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Demand for Design Services Accelerates

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THE MOST RECENT REPORT:  SEPTEMBER 2022

18 consecutive months of growth for Midwest and Southern U.S.

 

WASHINGTON – Demand for design services from U.S. architecture firms grew at an accelerated pace in August, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for August rose to 53.3 compared to 51.0 in July (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). During August, the score for new project inquiries rose to 57.9 from 56.1 the previous month, while the design contracts score softened slightly with a score of 52.3, down from 52.9 in July.

“While a strengthening billings score is encouraging, the flat scoring across regions and sectors is indicative of a nationwide deceleration over the next several months, said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “A variety of economic storm clouds continue to gather, but since design activity continues to increase, we can expect at least another 9–12-month runway before building construction activity is negatively affected.”

Key ABI highlights for August include:

  • Regional averages: South (52.9); Midwest (51.4); West (50.2); Northeast (49.8)

  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (52.0); institutional (52.0); commercial/industrial (51.2); mixed practice (51.2)

 

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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