Architecture billings remained stalled in October

2020 11 abi.jpg

 
The Most Recent Report:   November 18, 2020

WASHINGTON – Nov. 18, 2020 – While architectural billings failed to show much progress during October, signs of improving business conditions at firms have emerged, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The pace of decline during October remained at about the same level as in September, posting an ABI score of 47.5 (any score below 50 indicates a decline in firm billings). Meanwhile, firms reported a modest increase in new project inquiries—growing from 57.2 in September to 59.1 in October—and newly signed design contracts jumped into positive territory for the first time since the pandemic began, with a score of 51.7.

“Though still in negative territory, the moderating billings score along with the rebound in design contracts and inquiries provide some guarded optimism,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “The pace of recovery will continue to vary across regions and sectors.”

Key ABI highlights for October include:

  • Regional averages: West (50.4); Midwest (49.4); South (45.8); Northeast (44.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (55.1); mixed practice (52.7); commercial/industrial (48.0); institutional (42.2)
  • Project inquiries index: 59.1
  • Design contracts index: 51.7

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

To learn more about recent economic developments impacting design and construction, visit AIA’s website.

 

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

NATIONAL | amCharts

Source: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

RELATED: Historical ABI Data 2008 - 2019 »

 

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Regional Architecture Billings Index

(Three month rolling average)

ABI REGION 2019 | amCharts

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.

ABI by Sector | amCharts

Source: The American Institute of Architects (AIA)

 

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