The Architectural Billing Index compiled by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) fell sharply in September, "following three consecutive months of greater stability in design activity," the AIA reported recently.
The September index rating was 41.4, down from 47.6 in August. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billing. As a leading indicator of construction activity, the index shows an approximate nine to twelve month lag time between the architectural billings reported and spending on construction.
All regions were lowerMidwest, 45.2; West, 45.0; Northeast, 44.2 and South, 44.1. All sectors were down as well, with multi-family residential the lowest at an index rating of 40.3.
"With all of the anxiety and uncertainty in the credit markets, the conditions are likely to get worse before they get better," said Kermit Baker, AIA chief economist. "Many architects are reporting that clients are delaying or canceling projects as a result of problems with project financing."