Demand for design services from U.S. architecture firms continues to grow at a vigorous pace, according to the May 2021 Architectural Billings Index (ABI) report from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The ABI score for May rose to 58.5 compared to 57.9 in April (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). May’s ABI score is one of the highest in the index’s 25-year history. During May, the new design contracts score reached its second consecutive record high with a score of 63.2, while new project inquiries also recorded a near-record high score at 69.2.
“Despite ballooning costs for construction materials and delivery delays, design activity is roaring back as more and more places reopen,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, Ph.D. “However, concern over rising inflation and ongoing supply chain disruptions, as well as emerging labor shortages, could dampen the emerging construction recovery.”
Key ABI highlights for May include:
• Regional averages: Midwest (63.4); South (59.0); West (57.4); Northeast (54.2)
• Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (60.6); multi-family residential (59.5); mixed practice (57.9); institutional (57.1)
• Project inquiries index: 69.2
• Design contracts index: 63.2
The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers. Visit AIA’s website for more ABI information.