Architecture Billings Decline in April

Architecture firm billings remained soft in April, with an AIA/Deltek Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 48.3 for the month. The score rose from 43.6 in March but still indicates that billings continue to decline at most architecture firms. While the value of newly signed design contracts dipped slightly in April, there remains interest from clients as inquiries into new projects continue to increase.

“These findings indicate that while there is still caution among clients, there are also positive signs with increasing inquiries into new projects,” said Kermit Baker, PhD, chief economist for AIA. “Continued high interest rates make it difficult for some projects to move forward, but there is ongoing interest in pursuing these projects once conditions improve. In the meantime, design activity is expected to remain sluggish.”

Architecture firm billings continued to decline at firms in all regions of the country, with firms located in the Midwest and South reporting the sharpest declines. Business conditions also remain soft at firms of all specializations, with the weakest conditions continuing at firms with a multifamily residential specialization.

The ABI score is a leading economic indicator of construction activity, providing an approximately nine-to-twelve-month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The score is derived from a monthly survey of architecture firms that measures the change in the number of services provided to clients.

Key ABI highlights for April include:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (45.9); Midwest (44.2); South (44.7); West (47.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (47.4); institutional (46.1); mixed practice (firms that do not have at least half of their billings in any one other category) (43.9); multifamily residential (45.6)
  • Project inquiries index: 54.8
  • Design contracts index: 49.2

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