To access the Work-on-the-Boards survey results for the month of April, please click here:
- Business conditions at architecture firms continued to rebound at a strong clip in April, with the AIA’s ABI score rising to 57.9 for the month (any score over 50 indicates billings growth). This is the highest ABI score since prior to the Great Recession, and indicates that a majority of architecture firms saw their billings increase this month. Interest in new projects remained extremely strong as well, with the Inquiries score rising to 70.8, and the value of new signed design contracts reaching 61.7, the highest score in that index since data collection started in late 2010.
- Architecture firms in all regions of the country also reported increasing billings for the second consecutive month in April, with firms located in the Midwest and South reporting the strongest growth. While growth remains somewhat more modest at firms located in the West, they are still seeing their strongest conditions in nearly three years. In addition, firms of all specializations reported growth again this month, with firms with a commercial/industrial specialization seeing the largest increase in billings for the second month in a row. Business conditions also continued to rebound at firms with a multifamily residential specialization, after they saw a modest decline over the winter.
- Cost and availability issues result in higher construction bids: This month, most firms reported at least a slight problem with increasing costs of both basic construction materials and finished construction products (e.g., HVAC systems, appliances, lighting fixtures) and with lack of availability of, or long lead times for those materials and/or products over the last six months. The largest share of firms, 37%, reported that increases in costs of basic construction materials has been a serious problem, with an additional 35% of firms saying that it has been a moderate problem. At firms that reported at least a slight problem with costs and/or availability of construction materials/products over the last six months, respondents indicated that the most serious problem as a result was higher construction bids, with 35% of firms rating that as a serious problem. When asked to rate the seriousness of current production and supply chain issues related to construction materials and products for their firm, respondents rated the level of seriousness as an average of 3.7 on a five-point scale ranging from not at all serious (1) to very serious (5).