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AIA Report: Demand for Design Services Accelerates

Demand for design services from U.S. architecture firms grew at an accelerated pace in August, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for August rose to 53.3 compared to 51.0 in July (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). During August, the score for new project inquiries rose to 57.9 from 56.1 the previous month, while the design contracts score softened slightly with a score of 52.3, down from 52.9 in July.

“While a strengthening billings score is encouraging, the flat scoring across regions and sectors is indicative of a nationwide deceleration over the next several months, said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “A variety of economic storm clouds continue to gather, but since design activity continues to increase, we can expect at least another 9–12-month runway before building construction activity is negatively affected.”

Key ABI highlights for August include:

  • Regional averages: South (52.9); Midwest (51.4); West (50.2); Northeast (49.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: multifamily residential (52.0); institutional (52.0); commercial/industrial (51.2); mixed practice (51.2)

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

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