Architecture Billings Index Unveiled as a Predictive Indicator of Future Construction Activity

Results Indicate Modest Increases in Business, Confidence in Growing

Economy, Concerns over Inflation

Oct 19, 2005, 01:00 ET from American Institute of Architects

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Institute of Architects
 (AIA) officially introduced the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), which is
 determined based on the results of a monthly "Work-on-the-Boards" survey of
 U.S. architecture firms.  The survey has been taking place since 1995 and the
 results have been shared with AIA members and academics, and will now be made
 widely available in the third week of every month to media covering economic
     Billings at architecture firms in September made their largest monthly
 gain since 1998, generating a score of 60.5 on the ABI (any score above 50
 indicates an increase in billings at architecture firms), following a score of
 55.9 in August.  Recent increases in design activity expect to translate into
 similar increases in construction activity in early 2006.  Inquiries for new
 design projects scored 62.5, indicating more expected future growth in design
 activity, however the pace for project inquires in September slowed somewhat
 compared to July and August levels.
     Highlights from the September ABI:
     * Architecture firms in all regions reported improvement in business
       conditions, with firms in the South reporting the strongest improvement
     * Increases in selected construction commodities and problems with
       availability of building materials has caused inflation to become a key
     * Construction outlook for 2006 positive based on favorable economic
       conditions (low interest rates, moderate overall inflation)
     "The findings in the Architecture Billings Index should be encouraging for
 the nonresidential construction industry, and those business sectors affected
 by it," said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  "The positive
 outlook should be tempered, however, because of the effect that rising energy
 prices, increased costs for building materials, and the possibility of rising
 interest rates will have on the overall economy in the months to come."
     About The American Institute of Architects
     For almost 150 years, members of The American Institute of Architects have
 worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy,
 secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes.  AIA members have access to
 the right people, knowledge, and tools to create better design, and through
 such resources and access, they help clients and communities make their
 visions real.
     CONTACT:  Scott Frank of the American Institute of Architects,

SOURCE American Institute of Architects