With all geographic regions and building project sectors showing positive conditions, there continues to be a heightened level of demand for design services signaled in the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the September ABI score was 55.2, up from a mark of 53.0 in August. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

The AIA also has added a new indicator measuring the trends in new design contracts at architecture firms that can provide a strong signal of the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in August was 56.8.

“Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.”