American architecture billings index shows drop-off in government work

By Anna Winston

The latest American Architectural Association’s Architecture Billings Index suggests that previously safe government work has begun to be hit by the credit crunch.

The index dropped more than six points in September to 41.4 indicating a sharp fall in construction activity.

It is the eight consecutive month the index has shown a fall in billings. Numbers below 50 indicate a fall.

However it is the first month the institutional market ratings have also fallen below 50, meaning that government projects, schools and hospitals which had previously been performing well on the index are drying up.

Unsurprisingly, the residential sector had the worst results, scoring a rating of 40.3.

Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist, said: “With all of the anxiety and uncertainty in the credit market, the conditions are likely to get worse before they get better.

“Many architects are reporting that clients are delaying or cancelling projects as a result of problems with project financing.”

The ABI is often used as an economic indicator of future construction activity as billings typically occur nine to 12 months before construction starts.

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