The Real Deal Miami

Architects grapple with less work

February 25, 2010 10:53AM

Architects had even less work to do in January, according to the American Institute of Architects, whose Architecture Billings Index dropped three points during the month to 42.5, down from 45.4 in December. The index, on which scores above 50 indicate an increase in the demand for design services, is an indicator of construction activity; there is a lag time of nine to 12 months between architecture billings and construction spending. Inquiries about new projects dropped more than seven points to 52.5. “Projects are being delayed or canceled because lending institutions are placing unusually stringent equity requirements on new developments,” Kermit Baker, chief economist at AIA said in response to the data. “This is even happening to financially sound companies with strong credit ratings,” he said. He added that a decrease in tax revenues for publicly-funded projects and declining property values were other contributors to the low demand for design work. The design and construction industry has an unemployment rate of more than 20 percent, he said. TRD