Architecture Billings Continues Growth Streak in March

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) recorded its sixth consecutive month of growth with a score of 51.0 in March, per the latest report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). While March’s score indicates an increase in design activity, growth has been slowing down the past couple of months. February’s score of 52.0 was down from January’s score of 54.7.

For the ABI, scores above 50 indicate an increase in billings, while scores below 50 indicate a decrease. The ABI acts as a barometer for future construction activity and spending with construction spending following architectural billing by approximately nine to twelve months.

The new project inquiry index and the new design contracts index both had growth in March as well. The new projects inquiry index for March was 58.1 following February’s score of 62. The new design contracts edged down from 54.5 to 51.5 in March.

While the ABI, new project inquiries index and design contracts index were all down from the previous month’s scores, they all reported growth for the month.

The West led all regions again in March with a three-month average score of 53.4. This is down from a 57.6 in February. The South region had the second highest score in March with a 53.2 after recording a 54.4 the previous month. The Midwest saw a big drop in March, going down from 54.5 to 50.7, but still managing to stay in positive territory. The Northeast continued its climb, going from a 47.5 to a 49.0. If that trend continues next month, the Northeast may finally be able to get back above the 50-point mark.

Most of the sectors performed well in March, the lone exception being Institutional which dropped from 53.8 to 48.7. Commercial/Industrial saw a nice increase in March, climbing from 51.0 to 53.1. Multi-Family Residential billings remained strong with a score of 53.4, after an impressive score of 56.6 in February. Mixed Practice, which fell below the 50-point mark in February with a 49.7 rebounded enough to show growth with a 51.1 in March.

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