Making Sense of the AIA’s Billings Indexes

0513archdown.jpg

In the interest of keeping you informed as to what’s going on financially with architecture firms across the country, you’ve likely seen our regular posts about the American Institute of Architect‘s monthly Architectural Billings Index reports, showing you the ups and downs the industry has been experiencing since the economy went belly up. But even this writer, who was born math-averse, has some trouble making sense of all the numbers and ramifications of what the AIA is reporting. Fortunately, we’re able to turn to The Architect’s Newspaper, who has put together this great piece of writing making sense of the last few months, walking through all the highs and lows (mostly lows) in some easy to understand English, as well as some editorializing in how/why certain things are happening and what the future might hold. Here’s a bit:

The problem appears to be the relative ineffectuality of the national stimulus program in reaching the architecture and design communities, and the nature of the current recession. Being driven largely by speculative real estate investments, there is now so much excessive supply in the nation’s building stock that demand remains low, even for non-residential and non-commercial projects. In fact, institutional work, usually a buoy during hard economic times, is now the worst performing sector. With such non-traditional patterns emerging, predicting future movement for the industry becomes all the more difficult.