WASHINGTON — On the heels of recording its strongest pace of growth since 2007, there continues to be a high level of demand for design services signaled in the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). A leading economic indicator of construction activity, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 53, down from 55.8 in July. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 62.6, following a very strong mark of 66 the previous month.

The AIA has also 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 56.9.

“One of the key triggers for accelerating growth at architecture firms is that long-stalled construction projects are starting to come back to life in many areas across the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, Ph.D. “Long awaited access to credit from lending institutions and an increasing comfort level in the overall economy has helped revitalize the commercial real estate sector in recent months. Additionally, though, a crucial component to a broader industry-wide recovery is the emerging demand for new projects such as education facilities, government buildings and, in some cases, hospitals.”

The regional scores were the Northeast at 58.1, South at 55.1, West at 52.5, and Midwest at 51.

The sector index breakdown was multifamily residential at 58.1, mixed practice at 57.1, institutional at 54, and commercial/industrial at 50.4.

For more information, visit www.aia.org.

Publication date: 10/6/2014

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