Report: Architecture billings continue historic contraction

By CBJ News Staff

Demand for design services in April saw its steepest decline on record, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 29.5 for April reflects a decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any number below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). During April, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores also declined significantly, posting scores of 28.4 and 27.6 respectively.

“Our local firms are definitely seeing some slow down in projects waiting for signs of stability before they begin to proceed again,” AIA Iowa Executive Director Jessica Reinert stated in a press release. “Once business activity resumes we expect the demand for design services to pick up fairly quickly. Unfortunately the timeline of the rebound is unknown and the drop in demand might have a lasting consequence on some firms .”

Key ABI figures for April include:

•  Regional averages: West (38.1); Midwest (31.2); South (31.1); Northeast (23.0)
•  Sector index breakdown: institutional (36.1); multi-family residential (30.3); mixed practice (29.0); commercial/industrial (27.8)
•  Project inquiries index: 28.4
•  Design contracts index: 27.6

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers. CBJ