Business conditions at architecture firms held steady in April for members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), according to Jennifer Riskus, AIA's research specialist.
All regions except the Northeast showed continued growth, Riskus said. Activity remained virtually unchanged in April from March levels, as the AIA's Architectural Billings Index (ABI) ticked up a modest 0.1 point to 52.7 points, while the index for inquiries for new projects remained positive. Because any reading above 50 points indicates growth, both measures point to healthy business conditions at present and for the near future.
The ABI has remained relatively unchanged for the last three months, but since any score above 50 indicates revenue growth, there is no cause for concern. In fact, it seems likely that strong billings will continue for the foreseeable future. Inquiries for new projects have been positive for several months. Most firms are reporting that they are still very busy, which also bodes well for the summer months ahead.
Strongest growth by sector is found in firms with a commercial/industrial and institutional specialization. Almost three-quarters of survey respondents recently worked on green/sustainable projects, and their clients' decision to incorporate those features is mostly motivated by cost savings over the life cycle of the building.
Firms in the Northeast reported a slight decline in billings in April, the first in more than three years. The other three regions have all been fairly stable for the first four months of the year, with scores in the low 50s showing steady growth. Growth in the South has been sustained the longest, with no decline in billings reported for nearly five years.