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AIA blames US government shutdown for delaying projects

The US government shutdown could be responsible for the country’s design recovery faltering, according to a senior figure

American Institute of Architects chief economist Kermit Baker said the 16-day federal shutdown delayed projects that could otherwise have reached practices in October.

The Institute’s closely-watched Architecture Billings Index posted a score of 51.6 in October, where anything above 50 represents a rise in workloads from the previous month.

It ended a three-month spell of ever-quickening growth in US workloads, and took the recovery back to the pace it was moving at in June.

Design workloads actually fell in the Northeast, with the region posting 49.7 on the ABI in October.

Baker said: ‘There continues to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the overall US economic outlook and therefore in the demand for non-residential facilities, which often translates into slower progress on new building projects.

‘That is particularly true when you factor in the federal government shutdown that delayed many projects that were in the planning or design phases.’

The West saw the greatest rise in workloads in October, with a reading of 55.9. The South registered 54.4 and the Midwest 51.6.

All sectors of the industry provided increased work.

Multi-family residential work posted an index reading of 57.0; commercial and industrial work 53.7; mixed practice 53.2; and institutional 50.2.

The new projects inquiry index was up to 61.5 suggesting the underlying flow of work remains strong.

Chicago-born Stephan Reinke, who runs Stephan Reinke Architects in London, told AJ he was still positive about president Obama’s second term in office.

‘I remainbullish on the Obama Administration’s efforts to keep the graph moving upwards,’ he said.

Architects last year urged Obama to use his second term in office to boost the quality and sustainability of building design.

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