Architectural Billings up in February

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) showed growth in February after a weak January, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The February ABI score was 50.7, up from 49.5 in the previous month.

This score reflects a minor increase in design services, as any score above 50 indicates a rise 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,” says AIA chief economist Dr. Kermit Baker. “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 ABI averages were: Midwest (52.4), South (50.5), Northeast (50.0) and West (47.5). The breakdown by sector was: institutional (51.8), multifamily residential (49.3), mixed practice (49.2) and commercial/industrial (48.9).