US Aug architectural index sees growth for first time in 5 months

20 September 2012 00:32  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A measure of future US construction activity shifted in August to growth mode for the first time in five months, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) said on Wednesday.

The AIA’s August Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was 50.2, up by 1.5 points from July’s score of 48.7.  Any score above 50 indicates an increase in demand for architectural design services.

The June ABI was 45.9, AIA officials said.

One year before, the ABI score for August was 51.4, up by 6 points from July 2011, which surprised analysts by reversing a five-month slide.

The similarity was not lost on AIA officials, but “until the economy is on firmer ground, there aren’t likely to be strong increases in demand for design services,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said. “In the meantime, we can expect to see design activity alternate between modest growth and modest decline.”

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

The project-inquiries score for August increased to 57.2, up by 1.6% over the July score of 56.3.

The construction sectors experienced August gains of 3.1% and 7.7% in the multi-family residential and institutional sectors, respectively. The commercial/industrial and mixed-practice markets saw respective losses of 1.0% and 4.7%.

The AIA survey showed August weakening marginally in the south and midwest, but strengthening sharply in the west with a gain of 13% over July. The northeast saw its score increase for August by only 2.7% over July.

Every $1,000 (€770) spent on non-residential construction generates $160-230 (€123-177) worth of consumable chemicals and derivatives, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

($1 = €0.77)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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