Saturday, June 15, 2013

Design Activity Hits the Brakes in April (Kermit Baker's further comments about recent AIA ABI Index)

On May 22, 2013, the AIA issued a press release to announce the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) for the Month of Aril 2013.  As is usually the case with the AIA’s press releases about the monthly ABI Index, that press release was short and (well, this time, not so) sweet.  The ABI Index for April was 48.6; we previously put up a post about that on the Repro 101 Blog (when the blog was being published through the IRgA web-site.)

Not long after that press release, Kermit Baker of the AIA, posted a more extensive article, in which he shares his insights and opinions about what’s going on in the Architecture industry.

Below, you’ll find the first two paragraphs of that article, followed by a link to the full article (and the charts/graphs that accompany that article):

“Design Activity Hits the Brakes in April”

Another extended spring swoon seems unlikely, but architecture firms continue to report problems in keeping projects moving along

By Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, AIA Chief Economist

“After eight straight monthly gains in design activity, revenue at architecture firms fell in April. The ABI’s seasonally adjusted reading for the month was 48.6, falling from 51.9 in March and 54.9 in February. Housing starts nationally—particularly for multifamily units—also dropped sharply in April, suggesting that the construction sector remains choppy. Spring slowdowns have been common during this uneven recovery, but the momentum of the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year pointed toward growing design activity moving through the entire year. Inquiries for new projects continued to grow at a healthy pace in April, as did the volume of new design contracts, so the expectation is for a resumption of revenue growth in the coming months.

The recent slowdown seems to have hit firms in the Northeast and Midwest harder, as firms in both regions experienced setbacks. Firms in the Northeast had reported growth for seven straight months prior to the April downturn, while Midwest firms broke a string of six straight months of gains. Firms in the South continue to see healthy gains, while firms in the West reported only modest growth.”

Link to complete article (with charts/graphs):

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