Demand for Design Services Continues to Grow

Architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services for the tenth consecutive month in November, according to the latest Architectural Billings Index (ABI) report issued Dec. 15, 2021 by The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The ABI score for November was 51.0, down from 54.3 the previous month. While this score is down slightly from October’s score, it still indicates positive business conditions overall (any score above 50 indicates billings growth). During November, scoring for both the new project inquiries and design contracts moderated slightly, but remained in positive territory, posting scores of 59.4 and 55.8 respectively.  

“The period of elevated billing scores nationally, and across the major regions and construction sectors seems to be winding down for this cycle,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Ongoing external challenges like labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, spiking inflation, and prospects for rising interest rates will likely continue to slow the growth in firm billings in the coming months.” 

Key ABI highlights for November include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (57.6); South (53.7); West (50.9); Northeast (45.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (56.9); multi-family residential (51.4); commercial/industrial (50.5); institutional (50.1)

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers. Visit AIA’s website for more ABI information.

Demand for Design Services Moderates but Remains Strong

Architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services in October, according to the latest Architectural Billings Index (ABI) report issued Nov. 17, 2021 by The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The ABI score for October was 54.3. While this score is down slightly from September’s score of 56.6, it still indicates very strong business conditions overall (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings from the prior month). During October, scoring for both the new project inquiries and design contracts expanded, posting scores of 62.9 and 58.0 respectively.  

“Unlike the economy-wide payroll figures, architecture services employment has surpassed its pre-pandemic high,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Staffing continues to be a growing concern at architecture firms and may serve to limit their ability to take on new projects.”

Key ABI highlights for October include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (61.9); South (58.2); West (53.4); Northeast (48.6)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (58.7); commercial/industrial (57.4); multi-family residential (55.8); institutional (51.4)

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.

ABI Reports Continued Robust Growth

Architecture firms reported increasing demand for design services in June according to the latest report from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for June remained at an elevated level of 57.1 in June (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). During June, the new design contracts score also remained positive at 58.9 but was not quite as strong as the 63.2 reading in May. New project inquiries logged another near-record high score at 71.8, compared to 69.2 in May.               

“With the current pace of billings growth near the highest levels ever seen in the history of the index, we’re expecting a sharp upturn in nonresidential building activity later this year and into 2022,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, as is often the case when market conditions make a sudden reversal, concerns are growing about architecture firms not being able to find enough workers to meet the higher workloads. Nearly six in 10 firms report that they are having problems filling open architectural staff positions.”

Key ABI highlights for June include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (62.0); West (59.7); South (57.3); Northeast (53.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial/industrial (61.0); multi-family residential (57.9); institutional (57.3); mixed practice (56.4)
  • Project inquiries index: 71.8
  • Design contracts index: 58.9

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.