After beginning the year with a decline, the Architecture Billings Index has posted three consecutive months of increasing demand for design activity at architecture firms, according to the latest report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.
The AIA reported that the April ABI score was 50.6, down from the mark of 51.9 in the previous month. This score still reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 56.9, down from a reading of 58.1 the previous month, according to the report.
“Architects continue to report a wide range of business conditions, with unusually high variation in design activity across the major building categories,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The strong growth in design contracts—the strongest score for this indicator since last summer—certainly suggests that firms will be reporting growth in billings over the next several months.”