Architecture firms have work on the drawing board

The Washington-based American Institute of Architects (AIA) says its monthly billing index for July indicates continued construction planning activity in the second half of this year.

“Although the frantic pace of billing growth seen earlier this year slowed down in July, architectural firms are still reporting very strong business conditions overall,” AIA writes of its architectural billing index. (ABI) for the month.

The ABI score of 54.6 for the month indicates that “the majority of companies continue to see their billings increase,” adds AIA. “The rate of growth that companies are now reporting is more typical of a post-recession recovery phase, while the unusually high numbers seen earlier this year were more of an outlier due to the precipitous nature of the decline in 2020, and of the strong rebound in early 2021, ”adds the institute.

The AIA says business conditions remained strong in all regions of the United States in July, with companies in the Midwest and West posting the strongest conditions for the second month in a row.

Architectural services employment added 300 new jobs in June (the most recent data available), with industry employment now 2% below its pre-pandemic peak, according to the AIA.

The organization adds, “While inflation remains a concern, recent data shows that it may end up being more transient in nature. While the most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) data showed that consumer prices rose a further 0.5% in July, this is almost half of 0’s increase. , 9% observed in June.

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), based in Arlington, Va., Continues to express concern about inflation, especially when it comes to building materials. At the start of August, AGC’s chief economist said: “Contractors are faced with soaring material costs, long or uncertain delivery times, and owners’ reluctance to engage in construction. construction.

The AIA, however, qualifies architectural firms as optimistic about revenues for the second half of 2021. first half, for an expected average increase of 6 percent, ” written AIA. This compares to just 15% of its members who expect their income to decrease.

“The return to work has been as drastic as the drop in work in March and April 2020,” a billing index respondent from a company of 250 people in the Midwest told AIA.

An AIA member in the South, however, called the conditions “good, but [there is] still some hesitation. COVID and the Delta variant still pose problems and concerns moving forward. “

AGC, in addition to citing inflation concerns, also cites the COVID-19 delta variant as a negative factor. “The rapidly spreading COVID-19 delta variant may make it more difficult to find eligible employees to work at restricted sites and may also lower demand if some owners postpone projects,” says Simonson.

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