May 5, 2010
AIA Architecture Billings Index Up In March

A key indicator of future building activity was up for the second consecutive month in March, but it’s still treading in negative territory.

The American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index, which is based on billing information from design firms across the country, came in at 46.1 in March, up from 44.8 the previous month. Any reading below 50 indicates a decrease in billings, according to AIA.

Although the numbers show a “continued decline in demand for design services,” there’s reason for optimism because the index reached its “highest score since August 2008,” AIA noted in a press release.

“This is an encouraging sign that we could be moving closer to a recovery phase, even though we continue to hear about mixed conditions across the country,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said in a news release.

“Firms are still reporting an unusual amount of variation in the level of demand for design services, from improving to poor to virtually nonexistent. This increasing volatility is often a sign that overall business conditions may begin to change in the coming months.”

The Midwest had the highest index in March (50.5), followed by the Northeast (47.0), West (46.0) and South (44.4). The highest-scoring sector was multi-family residential (47.3), followed by institutional (46.8), mixed practice (45.0) and commercial/industrial (44.7).

Source: Finance & Commerce, April 26, 2010

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Brought to you by the Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) on the first Wednesday of each month, February through December. Framework Online arms you with important news and commentary on the cold-formed steel (CFS) framing and construction industries.