For 10 out of 12 months demand increased for design services in 2014, and the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) points to a healthy outlook for the nonresidential construction industry. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI has an approximate 9 to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 52.2, up from a mark of 50.9 in November. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.2, following a mark of 58.8 the previous month. Design contracts posted a mark of 49.9, after a 54.9 score in November.