Design and construction activity is on the rise again, according to the latest Architecture Billings Index (ABI). The June score of 53.5 is up from a reading of 52.6 in May, following a sluggish March and April for the industry. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.
The new project inquiry index came in at 66.4, its highest mark yet this year. An indicator measuring trends in design contracts at architecture firms spelled more good news with a score of 55.7. The indicator, which provides a strong signal of the direction of future architecture billings, reported its best score since it started being measured in October 2010.
“The recent surge in both design contracts and general inquiries for new projects by prospective clients is indicative of a sustainable strengthening across the construction marketplace,” Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects (AIA), said in a statement. “With the first positive reading since last summer in billings at institutional firms, it appears that design activity for all major segments of the building industry is growing. The challenge now for architecture firms seems to be finding the right balance for staffing needs to meet increasing demand.”
The commercial/industrial and institutional sectors had scores of 53.1 and 50.2, respectively, although multifamily residential continued to lead the way at 57.7, followed by mixed practice (53.8). Regionally, the Midwest reported the highest activity with a reading of 56.3, while the West was the lowest at 48.7. In between were the South (53.9) and Northeast (51.1).