February design activity increased slightly over January with scores of 50.7 and 50.4, respectively, according to the most recent Architectural Billings Index from the American Institute of Architects
(AIA). The tepid growth may be the result of a brutal winter throughout much of the U.S.
“The unusually severe weather conditions in many parts of the country have obviously held back both design and construction activity,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said in a statement. “The March and April readings will likely be a better indication of the underlying health of the design and construction markets. We are hearing reports of projects that had been previously shelved for extended periods of time coming back online as the economy improves.”
The commercial/industrial sector remains steady with a score of 51.9, followed by institutional at 49.6 and mixed practice at 46.6. Multi-family residential continued to perform best with a 52.5 mark. Inquiries into new projects dipped from 58.5 in January to 56.8 February.
The South led all regions last month at 52.8, followed by the West (50.5), Northeast (48.3), and Midwest (47.6).