The Architecture Billings Index rose to 50.8 in October, up from September's score of 48.4, the American Institute of Architects reported Wednesday. The ABI is an indicator of future construction spending — with a lead time of about nine to 12 months — as design services typically lead to new projects.
Within the index, multifamily residential had the highest score of 51.2, followed by commercial/industrial at 49.8, mixed-practice at 49.5 and institutional at 49.1.
October's rise followed two consecutive months of declines in demand for design services — the first time that occurred since mid-2012.
AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker attributed the recent months of weak design activity and stalled projects to uncertainty surrounding the presidential election. Now that the race is over, he said he hopes the industry will have a more clearly defined direction as the incoming Trump administration's potential impact on the economy and construction comes into focus.
The AIA faced backlash from its members after the organization's CEO, Robert Ivy, issued a statement last week that said the AIA and its members "are committed to working with President-elect Trump to address the issues our country faces," according to Architectural Record. Ivy later apologized for the perception that the organization had approved of Trump's win.
Still, the construction industry has largely responded positively to Trump's victory, pointing to his development experience, promises to cut regulations and a $1 trillion infrastructure plan as benefits for business — if they come to fruition.
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