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Strong Conditions Persist for ABI

Wednesday, August 19, 2015  

Strong Conditions Persist for Architecture Billings Index

Long struggling North East region starting to rebound

Des Moines, IA– August 19, 2015 – The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is reflecting healthy and sustained demand for design services in nearly all nonresidential project types. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, 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 July ABI score was 54.7, down a point from a mark of 55.7 in June. This score still reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.7, up slightly from a reading of 63.4 the previous month.

“The last several months have seen a surge of design activity. Architects are also reporting that clients are placing some projects on hold, which gives indication that business conditions will remain positive in the months ahead,” said AIA Iowa Executive Director Jessica Reinert, Hon. AIA Iowa, CAE, IOM. “However, due to rapid growth in construction costs, clients may find themselves unable to fit their projects into capital and municipal budgets, which would lead to some tightening in the market place in the future.”

Key July ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (58.2), South (55.7), West (53.8) Northeast (53.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (57.3), mixed practice (56.8), commercial / industrial (53.4) multi-family residential (49.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 63.7
  • Design contracts index: 54.5

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.


About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI.  These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the recently released White Paper, Designing the Construction Future: Reviewing the Performance and Extending the Applications of the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index on the AIA web site.


About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.

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For interviews please contact Jessica Reinert at AIA Iowa, (515) 244-7502, or e-mail her at jreinert@aiaiowa.org.

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