US architectural survey falls into negative territory for April

16 May 2012 23:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The outlook for future US construction activity dimmed for the first time in five months as a statistical index for architectural design services dipped into negative territory for April, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said on Wednesday.

The AIA’s April Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was 48.4, down from 50.4 in March and down from 51.0 in February. Any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings for design services.

“Considering the continued volatility in the overall economy, this … isn’t terribly surprising,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said. “Also, favourable conditions during the winter months may have accelerated design billings, producing a pause in projects that have moved ahead faster than expected.”

The ABI results reflect a lag of 9-12 months between architecture billings and construction spending, according to the AIA.

The April new-project inquiries index also weakened to 54.4, a drop of about 4%. The rate, however, was significantly slower than the nearly 11% drop in March from February.

All of the construction sectors saw diminished activity, the AIA survey indicated. The largest decline was in the commercial/industrial category.

Regionally, only the west saw improved results, rising by 2.6 points from March. The south, northeast and midwest all weakened by 1 to 4 points.

Every $1,000 spent on non-residential construction generates $160-230 (€126-182) worth of consumable chemicals and derivatives, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

($1 = €0.79)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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