While firms like Foster & Partners might be struggling to have an upbeat week across the pond, for those of us in the States, if you’d want to cautiously open a cautious bottle of inexpensive champagne to kinda sorta celebrate, this would be the time for it. For the first time since January of 2008, the American Institute of Architects‘ Architecture Billings Index has finally crossed the 50 point threshold, meaning there is currently, or at least at the time of the survey, an increase in billings across the industry. We’ve watched over the start of last year as it inched ever-so-slowly toward that magic number, only to be handed a big dip back in June that left everyone rattled. But for the last three months, things had risen again, ultimately winding up where they are now, at a lovely 50.4. What’s more, the report’s new projects inquiry also rose substantially, up to 62.3 from 54.6. Positive news for an industry plagued by more than two full years of what’s seemed like an endless series of downers, from big project cutbacks to massive layoffs and unemployment. Though while we said champagne might finally be in order, make sure you heed the always-sane Mr. Baker’s cool and collected advice:
“This is certainly encouraging news, but we will need to see consistent improvement over the next few months in order to feel comfortable about the state of the design and construction industry,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “While there has been increasing demand for design services, it is happening at a slow rate and there continue to be other obstacles that are preventing a more accelerated recovery. Still, the strong upturn in design activity in the commercial and industrial sector certainly suggests that this upturn can possibly be sustained.”
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