Architecture Billings Index Scrambles Back into Positive Territory

‘New project inquiries have been very strong, and February new design contracts posted their largest monthly gain in over two years’

American Institute of Architects
03222017 ABI 58d2cf9645df2

The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Architecture Billings Index returned to growth mode in February, after a weak showing in January.

The ABI is derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms, and reflects the approximate nine- to twelve-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.

AIA reported the February ABI score was 50.7, up from a score of 49.5 in the previous month. This score reflects a minor increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 61.5, up from a reading of 60.0 the previous month, while the new design contracts index climbed from 52.1 to 54.7.

“The sluggish start to the year in architecture firm billings should give way to stronger design activity as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “New project inquiries have been very strong through the first two months of the year, and in February new design contracts at architecture firms posted their largest monthly gain in over two years.” 

Regional averages:

  • Midwest     52.4
  • South        50.5
  • Northeast   50.0
  • West         47.5

Construction-sector index breakdown:

  • Institutional                 51.8
  • Multi-family residential   49.3
  • Mixed practice               49.2
  • Commercial / industrial   48.9

Other ABI highlights:

  • Project inquiries index   61.5
  • Design contracts index   54.7

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.