August ABI Shows Slight Decrease in Design Services

According to a press release from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) for August showed a slowing in design services. The 49.1 score illustrated a decline after three consecutive months of positive scores (scores above 50). July’s ABI score was 54.7.

A leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the nine to 12 month lead times in architecture billings (design services) and construction spending.

                                                                   Image via Calculated Risk

Despite the decline in design services, AIA’s chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD., does not believe this is something to worry too much about as the past several years have seen periods of consistent increases followed by slight decreases. “The fact that project inquiries and new design contracts continue to grow at a healthy pace suggests that this should not be a cause for concern throughout the design and construction industry.”

Here’s a breakdown of the sector index:

  • Institution – 53.7 (a slight decrease from 54.0 in August 2014)
  • Mixed Practice – 52.8 (a decrease from 57.1 in August 2014)
  • Commercial/Industrial – 49.7 (a decrease from 50.4 in August 2014)
  • Multi-Family Residential – 49.5 (a decrease from 58.1 in August 2014)

Note that when an index score is above 50, the outlook for design services, and therefore construction spending, is positive.

For more information, read the full press release here.


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