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Architecture Billings Index Ends Year on Positive Note

Wednesday, January 20, 2016  

Architecture Billings Index Ends Year on Positive Note

While volatility persists, architecture firms reported healthy performance for 2015

Des Moines, IA – January 20, 2016 – There were a few occasions where demand for design services decreased from a month-to-month basis in 2015, but the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) concluded the year in positive terrain and was so in eight of the twelve months of the year.  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 December ABI score was 50.9, up from the mark of 49.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.2, up from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.

“Over the last few years there has been a mix of business conditions experienced by architecture firms leading the profession up and out of the recession,” said AIA Iowa Executive Director Jessica Reinert, Hon. AIA Iowa. CAE, IOM. “Overall, 2015 ABI scores came in strong, which forecasts 2016 as a healthy year for construction.

Key December ABI highlights:
•Regional averages: West (53.7), South (53.3), Northeast (46.7), Midwest (46.1)
•Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (52.9), institutional (52.2), commercial / industrial (47.3), mixed practice (46.5)
•Project inquiries index: 60.2
•Design contracts index: 51.0

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

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For interviews or pictures, please contact Jessica Reinert at AIA Iowa, (515) 244-7502, or e-mail her at

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