Demand for design services continues to increase for the sixth consecutive month according to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the July ABI score was 51.9, down from a score of 54.2 in the previous month. However, this score reflects an increase in design services, as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

The new projects inquiry index was 59.5, an increase from 58.6 in the previous month, while the new design contracts index increased from 53.7 to 56.4.

“The July figures show the continuation of healthy trends in the construction sector of our economy,” says Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. “In addition to the balanced increases in design billings across all major regions and construction sectors, the strong gains in new project work coming into architecture firms points to future growth in design and construction activity over coming quarters.”