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Architecture billings upturn shows broad strength

Even with the uncertainty related to pending tax reform legislation that likely will have a mixed effect on the construction industry, design services at architecture firms remains in high demand. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 55.0, up from a score of 51.7 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.1, up from a reading of 60.2 the previous month, while the new design contracts index rose slightly from 52.8 to 53.2. 

“Not only are design billings overall seeing their strongest growth of the year, the strength is reflected in all major regions and construction sectors,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The construction industry continues to show surprising momentum heading into 2018.”

Key November ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (54.8), Northeast (52.8), South (52.8), Midwest (50.4)
  • Sector index breakdown: multifamily residential (53.9), mixed practice (53.6), commercial/industrial (53.3), institutional (52.4)
  • Project inquiries index: 61.1
  • Design contracts index: 53.2

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