After a dramatic decline this spring, the demand for architectural services nationally has seen some stabilization and even a marginal increase, according to a new survey released by the American Institute of Architects.
The organization’s Architecture Billings Index, which reported an overall billings low score of 29.5 in April, now reports a billings increase for June, raising the score to 40.0.
That index, produced by the AIA’s Economics & Market Research Group, serves as an economic indicator based on responses from member firms. Those firms are simply asked whether their billings have increased, decreased, or stayed the same during the previous month.
Scores above 50 indicate more billings that not. While scores less than 50, means the firm is currently in the deficit category when it comes to new work orders.
While the average member response in the latest index gives the overall industry a score of under 50, the latest responses nevertheless represent an improvement over April’s numbers.
Reports for firms doing multi-family residential work went up from a score of 30.3 in April to 44.7 in June.
Firms doing institutional work saw their overall score increase from 36.1 in April to 38.9 in June; while the mixed-practice firm scores had improved from 29.0 in April to 35.3 in June.
In a statement, Kermit Baker, chief economist with the AIA, noted that “while business conditions remained soft at firms across the country, those with multifamily residential specialization saw the most positive signs.”
Even so, Baker noted that firms with commercial and/or industrial specializations will probably remain low for “an extended period of time, until hospitality, office, and retail facilities can fully reopen, and design demand for this space begins to increase.”
Firms in both the West and Midwest saw the strongest overall index scores at 36.8, followed by the South at 35.9, and the Northeast at 34.2.
But compared to the April numbers, firms in the West were down by just under 2; while the Midwest saw an index score increase of two. Southern firms also recorded a score improvement of two, with firms based in the Northeast showing the biggest score increase of 12.
By Garry Boulard
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