WASHINGTON—Demand for design services in April saw its steepest decline on record, according to a new report from The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 29.5 for April reflects a decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any number below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). During April, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores also declined significantly, posting scores of 28.4 and 27.6 respectively. 

“With the dramatic deceleration that we have seen in the economy since mid-March, it’s not surprising that businesses and households are waiting for signs of stability before proceeding with new facilities,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Once business activity resumes, demand for design services should pick up fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the precipitous drop in demand for design services will have lasting consequences for some firms.”

Key ABI figures for April include:

  • Regional averages: West (38.1); Midwest (31.2); South (31.1); Northeast (23.0)
  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (36.1); multi-family residential (30.3); mixed practice (29.0); commercial/industrial (27.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 28.4
  • Design contracts index: 27.6

 

 

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.