Responding to an ongoing survey conducted by the Washington-based American Institute of Architects, architecture firms are reporting ongoing growth in the number of new projects taken on, a trend that has continued without interruption since the fall of 2017.
The AIA uses what it calls an Architectural Billings Index that measures the percentage of firms with higher billings over the previous reporting period, and noting that for October of this year those billings have once again exceeded the break-even mark of 50.
Even more, the index records an overall seasonally adjusted index score of 54.7.
The numbers only vary depending upon the professional focus of the firm, with mixed practice firms reporting a score of 53.9, and residential and institutional-oriented firms reporting scores of 51.2 and 50.8, respectively.
Regionally, firms in the Northwest reported the most project growth at 56.8, followed by firms in the Midwest at 53.1, and the South, at 50.5.
The lowest growth rate was reported with firms in the West at 49.0.
On a separate but related question, asking member firms what their greatest concerns were for the coming year, some 30 percent said trying to find new qualified staff, followed by 26 percent who pointed to the challenge of increasing profitability.
And while only 15 percent of firms nationally in last year’s AIA survey listed “coping with an unpredictable economy,” that number today has jumped to 25 percent.
By Garry Boulard