Architecture bills continue their historic rise

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Kermit Baker

WASHINGTON – Demand for design services from US architectural firms continues to skyrocket, according to a new report from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

The AIA’s Billings Architecture Index (ABI) for May rose to 58.5 from 57.9 in April (anything above 50 indicates an increase in billing). May’s ABI is one of the highest in the index’s 25-year history. During May, the valuation of new engineering contracts reached its second consecutive record of 63.2, while requests for new projects also recorded a near-record valuation of 69.2.

“Despite escalating construction materials costs and delivery delays, project activities are resuming as more and more properties reopen,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, The Hon. AMA, K. “However, concerns about rising inflation and ongoing supply chain disruptions, as well as emerging labor shortages, could slow construction recovery.”

Key ABI events for May include:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (63.4); South (59.0); West (57.4); Northeast (54.2)
  • Distribution of the sectoral index: commercial / industrial (60.6); apartment buildings (59.5); mixed practice (57.9); institutional (57.1)
  • Request Index by Project: 69.2
  • Index of design contracts: 63.2

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

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