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.

Need more examples of how to use the ABI?

Use our whitepapers to help you maximize its value.

2014 White Paper, “Designing the Construction Future: Reviewing the Performance and Extending the Applications of the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index"

2005 White Paper, “Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending”

Are you an architecture firm owner or principal?

Participate in our monthly survey to compare your firm to others, track the economy and local business conditions, and use data to target business opportunities.

Join  the Work-on-the-Boards panel >

ABI release dates:

Check out the ABI when it’s released for a first look. Visit us on August 19, September 23, October 21, November 18, and December 16 to stay up on the latest.

Note: In February our research team revises the historical seasonal adjustment factors, which may lead to updated ABI scores from previous months.

ABI June 2020: Business conditions at architecture firms begin to stabilize, fewer firms report declining billings this month

38% of firms predict a decrease in architecture staff at their firm by the end of the year, while 17% expect an increase

ABI May 2020: Architecture firms report steep decline in billings for third consecutive month

More than one third of firms have had client discussions about changing needs for facilities in the post-pandemic built environment

ABI April 2020: Business conditions at architecture firms weaken even further

Following last month’s precipitous decline, billings at architecture firms sank even lower in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to have a severe impact on firm business.

ABI March 2020: Architecture firm billings plummet as a result of the global pandemic

Billings at architecture firms plummeted in March as the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) fell by 20.1 points to a score of 33.3 for the month

March 2020 Special Report: Moving ahead, challenging times confront the design professions

Like most other businesses, U.S. architecture firms are heading into uncharted waters regarding what the economy holds in store for them as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out globally.

ABI February 2020: A solid business performance heading into a period of economic upheaval

February marked the sixth straight of month of revenue growth for architecture firms

ABI January 2020: Firm billings continue to expand in the new year

Despite staffing challenges, few firms are outsourcing domestic design work offshore

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