December 3, 2008
Non-Residential Construction Index Falls: AIA

NEW YORK - A forward-looking index of U.S. nonresidential construction activity fell to the lowest level in its 13-year history last month as spending slumped on healthcare and educational facilities, an architects' trade group said on Wednesday.

The Architecture Billings Index fell more than 5 points to 36.2 in October, the American Institute of Architects said. A reading below 50 indicates a decline in billings.

A separate measure of inquiries for new projects fell to 39.9, from 51 in September, also reaching a record low.

"Governments and nonprofit agencies are having difficulties getting bonds approved to finance large-scale education and healthcare facilities," AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said. "Until recently, the institutional sector had been somewhat insulated."

The AIA's survey began in 1995. It is considered a leading indicator of construction activity about nine to 12 months in the future.

Companies that sell to the nonresidential construction market include diversified manufacturer Honeywell International Inc; lighting maker Acuity Brands Inc; electrical components maker Thomas & Betts Corp; diversified industrial company Ingersoll Rand Co Ltd; and Johnson Controls Inc, which makes heating, ventilation and cooling systems.

Caterpillar Inc, Terex Corp, Cooper Industries Ltd, and Illinois Tool Works Inc, among others, also have exposure to the sector.

Source: Reuters, November 19, 2008

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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, Framework Online arms you with the latest news and commentary on the steel framing and construction industries. In addition to industry headlines, trends and project profiles, Framework Online provides information and ideas that will better enable members to increase their participation in the residential and commercial construction markets.