Architecture Billings Index (ABI)
The Architecture Billings Index is an economic indicator for nonresidential construction activity, with a lead time of approximately 9–12 months. Investment groups like Wells Fargo, media outlets, firms of all sizes, and business leaders rely on this leading monthly economic indicator to assess business conditions and predict and track the market.
The index is derived from AIA’s Work-on-the-Boards survey, which has gathered data on shifts in billings from architectural firm leaders for over 20 years. This data is a trusted tool used by the design and construction industry and other firms to predict and track movements in the market
Examples of the ABI in use:
- Firm strategic planning: ADD Inc., a multidisciplinary design firm with 200 employees, uses the ABI to help prepare for market fluctuations and ramp-up hiring.
- Determining business cycle shifts: Johnson Controls, which provides buildings services, looks to ABI for an early picture of construction trends to use in resource planning and stockholder guidance—and to identify expansion opportunities.
- Timing in a changing economy: One of the largest privately held family-owned real estate development and construction firms, Gilbane Inc., finds the ABI vital to help manage budgets, prepare for market movements, manage RFPs and seek leads.
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ABI October 2019: Business conditions at architecture firms rebound
Profitability remains strong, but firms anticipate a slowdown in revenue growth in 2020.
ABI September 2019: Firm billings remain sluggish
More than half of firms have seen significant project delays, changes, or cancellations this year.
ABI August 2019: A significant setback in business conditions
As architecture firms report a rare decline in both billings on current projects and new work coming in, many beginning to consider international opportunities.
ABI July 2019: Billings remain flat, indicators of future work continue to soften
80 percent of firms offer their employees the option to work remotely.
ABI June 2019: Architecture firms report another setback in billings
In the past year, nearly four in ten firms have seen a direct impact on their projects from tariff-related concerns.
ABI May 2019: Billings growth remains modest at architecture firms
Additions and remodels to existing buildings account for nearly half of firm billings.
ABI April 2019: Billings return to the plus side, but growth remains soft
Just over half of firms report clients feeling at least somewhat nervous about ongoing economic uncertainty.
ABI March 2019: Billings decline amidst concern about potential slowdown
Trends in staff turnover are pushing firms to provide increased career development opportunities.
ABI February 2019: After a strong start to the year, billings stabilize
After a surprisingly strong showing in January, business conditions at architecture firms showed little improvement in February.
ABI January 2019: Firms open the year strong
This month's ABI score ended up being the highest in more than two years and substantially higher than the modest growth seen throughout 2018.