Showing a steady increase in the demand for design services, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) continues to accelerate, as it reached its second highest level of the year, according to the latest report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  The ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The September ABI score was 54.3, up from a mark of 53.8 in August, according to the AIA.

This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, down from the reading of 63.0 the previous month.

“The prolonged economic downturn that has affected the design and construction industry has actually resulted in the increased productivity levels as reported by architecture firms,” says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “ In addition to new approaches to business challenges, a very competitive marketplace, the utilization of new technologies, and a renewed focus on efficiency have architecture firms realizing all-time highs in workplace productivity, and these new efficiencies can greatly benefit clients from a project timeline and budget standpoint.”