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Architectural Billings Hit 7-Year High

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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Billings at U.S. architecture firms rose in July to their highest level since 2007, according to the American Institute of Architects.

The July index reached 55.8, up from 53.5 in June. The July new projects inquiry index was also strong at 66, just below June’s 66.4.

AIA Billings
AIA

Even the struggling institutional sector was showing signs of life in July, AIA reported.

Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings, which reflects an increase in design activity, according to AIA.

Institutional Sector Pulse

“Business conditions for the design and construction marketplace, and those industries associated with it, appear to be well-positioned for continued growth in the coming months,” AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker said in a press release.

“The key to a more widespread boost in design activity continues to be the institutional sector, which is starting to exhibit signs of life after languishing for the better part of the last five-plus years.”

Kermit Baker AIA
AIA

AIA's chief economist, Kermit Baker, says the design and construction industries are "well-positioned for continued growth."

The Architecture Billings Index gives a nine- to 12-month lead time on the future of nonresidential construction spending activity.

Regional Billing

The report indicates that regional billings in the Northeast, Midwest and West held or saw slight gains, reversing their recent declines. The South continued the strong performance it has recorded every month for the past two years.

Regional activity showed upswings across the board.

  • Northeast: July’s score increased to 55.5 from 54.4 in June, its second consecutive score above 50 since August 2013;
  • Midwest: July’s score decreased slightly to 54.1 from June’s 54.4;
  • South: July’s score of 55.1 matched June's; and
  • West: The July score jumped to 53.5 in July from 50.7 in June, its second consecutive month of growth following two months of decreases.
Architecture Billings Index blueprint
BrooklynJohn / Pixabay.com

Regional architecture billing sectors held steady or rose slightly in July, according to the AIA's Architecture Billings Index.

In a separate article for AIA, Baker reported that "all of the major building sectors are now reporting healthy gains in design activity."

"In particular, institutional firms reported healthy increases for July, with growth accelerating over June levels. Commercial/industrial firms have reported growth each month this year, while residential firms now have an almost three-year uninterrupted string of gains."

In short, Baker wrote, "After a slow start to the year, the economy is finally beginning to perk up."

   

Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architecture; Billings; Commercial Construction; Construction; Design; Schools

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