I participate in a monthly survey for architects to provide an economic picture of the future. Here is this months less than optimistic report.
Work-on-the-Boards survey results for the month of April, please click here: http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB089462
The ABI fell sharply in April–the first slowdown in billings at architecture firms since last October. Business conditions at architecture firms had been slowly improving for the last few months, so it remains unclear if this month’s downturn is a bump in the road to recovery, or indicative of a longer-term reversal in the two-quarter recovery in design activity.
- Business conditions at architecture firms located in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the country continued to improve in April, but firm billings weakened at firms in the South and West regions. Firms that have an institutional specialization, as well as those with a commercial/industrial specialization, also had a fairly significant slowdown in their ABI scores in April.
- Credit still feeling the squeeze: The availability of construction project financing remains a major issue for many architecture firms, with 57% of survey respondents rating the issue as very or extremely serious, and an additional 30% indicating that it is a somewhat serious issue. Nearly two-thirds of panelists indicated that they have projects that are stalled primarily due to difficulties obtaining financing; these firms have an average of three stalled projects at present, with the construction value of these projects averaging $48.8 million per firm.