US Feb architectural index positive for fourth straight month

22 March 2012 22:31  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The outlook for US construction activity has brightened for the fourth straight month, according to a monthly survey of US architectural firms, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said on Thursday.

The AIA’s February Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was 51.0, up from 50.9 in January, indicating a slight increase in billings for architectural design services.

"This is more good news for the design and construction industry, which continues to see improving business conditions,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said.

However, he said there are impediments to even faster recovery, including caution among clients to proceed with new projects and continued difficulty obtaining financing for some projects.

The ABI results reflect a lag of nine to 12 months between architecture billings and construction spending, according to the AIA.

Two years ago, strict credit terms suppressed the launch of design projects. The February 2010 ABI was at 44.8, indicating a continued but slower decline in demand for architectural design services from AIA-member architects.

The February 2012 new-project inquiries index rose by nearly 4% to 63.4 from 61.2, its highest level since July 2007.

Regionally, the month’s figures were up in the midwest and northeast, flat in the west, and down marginally in the south, according to the AIA survey.

The February ABI saw strongest improvement in the construction industry’s commercial/industrial sector, which rose by about 6% from January. The only declining sector was the institutional, which fell to 50.3 from 51.1.

Every $1,000 spent on non-residential construction generates $160-230 (€122-175) worth of consumable chemicals and derivatives, according to the American Chemistry Council.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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