Architecture Billings Index Shows Decreases in Design Activity, Nonresidential Construction Spending
July 18, 2012

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reports continued to show "weak market conditions" in June, with a decrease in design activity of architectural firms along with projected drops in spending on nonresidential construction projects, according to the latest ABI report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The ABI shows an "approximate nine- to twelve-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending." According to AIA's findings, the June ABI score was 45.9, which is nearly the same as May's ABI score of 45.8.

According to the AIA, the ABI "reflects a decrease in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 54.4, up slightly from mark of 54.0 the previous month."

The ABI determined regional averages for the following: "Midwest (48.0), South (47.6), Northeast (46.4), West (44.3)." Additionally, the report showed sector scores to include: "multi-family residential (49.0), commercial or industrial (46.9), institutional (46.0), mixed practice (45.9)."

"The downturn in design activity that began in April and accelerated in May has continued into June, likely extending the weak market conditions we've seen in nonresidential building activity," says AIA chief economist Kermit Baker. "While not all firms are experiencing negative conditions, a large share is still coping with a sluggish and erratic marketplace."

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