Design Activity Strongly Increases

According to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), continuing its meteoric rebound, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded its third consecutive month of positive billings.

AIA’s ABI score for April rose to 57.9 compared to 55.6 in March (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). Neither score has been achieved since before the Great Recession. During April, new project inquiries and new design contracts reached record highs with scores of 70.8 and 61.7, respectively.

“This recent acceleration in the demand for design services demonstrates that both consumers and businesses are feeling much more confident about the economic outlook,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. “The pent-up demand for new and retrofitted facilities is keeping architecture firms in all regions and building sectors busy.”

Key ABI highlights for April include:

  •  Regional averages: Midwest (60.6); South (58.3); Northeast (55.0); West (52.4)
    •    Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (59.1); multi-family residential (56.9); institutional (56.7); mixed practice (55.0)
    •    Project inquiries index: 70.8
    •    Design contracts index: 61.7
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