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Architecture Billings Index Points to Major Downturn in Commercial Construction Largest monthly dec

Wednesday, April 22, 2020  
Posted by: Jessica Reinert

Largest monthly decline in billings a direct result of pandemic response.

Des Moines, IA – April 22, 2020 - Reflecting the deteriorating conditions in the overall economy, demand for design services from architecture firms recorded a record fall, according to a new report today from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 33.3 for March reflects a decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). During March, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores dropped dramatically, posting scores of 23.8 and 27.1, respectively.  

“Despite the new workplace constraints recommended by Iowa leaders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iowa architecture firms have remained nimble by transitioning to remote work and practicing social distancing on job sites,” said AIA Iowa Executive Director, Jessica Reinert, Hon. AIA Iowa. “The majority of firms are remaining busy with current design projects and avoiding furloughs but along with other Iowa businesses, they are uncertain what the future may hold for the design and construction industry. It all comes down to how quickly Iowans can get back to conditions comparable to pre-pandemic times,” said AIA Iowa Executive Director, Jessica Reinert. 

Key ABI figures for March include:
Regional averages: West (45.3); South (44.2); Midwest (44.2); Northeast (38.4)
Sector index breakdown: institutional (46.9); multi-family residential (43.3); commercial/industrial (41.9); mixed practice (40.6)
Project inquiries index: 23.8
Design contracts index: 27.1

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

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American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter
Since 1857, the American Institute of Architects has represented the professional interests of America’s architects. AIA Iowa, headquartered in Des Moines, is a statewide affiliate of national AIA with nearly 1,000 members.  AIA Iowa members are committed to excellence in design and are proactive in the design of livable communities. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public and colleagues of an AIA member architect’s dedication to the highest standards of professional practice.


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