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American architects' workloads soar

US architecture workloads have grown at their fastest monthly rate for more than five years

The Architecture Billings Index, from the American Institute of Architects, recorded a score of 54.2 in January 2013.

This was the sixth successive month of increasing workloads across the Atlantic – represented by index readings above 50.

It was also the highest reading since November 2007, suggesting the sector is growing at pre-credit crunch levels.

Significantly for the rest of this year, the new projects inquiry index posted a bumper 63.2.

AIA chief economist Kermit Baker hailed the index findings as a solid step towards a US architecture industry recovery.

‘This is the strongest indication [yet] that there will be an upturn in construction activity in the coming months,’ he said.

All regions and sectors of the industry saw a growth in workloads in the first month of 2013.

The Midwest led the way with a reading of 54.4, followed by the West with 53.4, the South with 51.7 and the Northeast with 50.3.

Mixed use projects posted 54.9, multi-family residential work was closely behind at 54.5, commercial/industrial 52.0 and institutional 50.2.

But Baker warned that despite the flow of good sentiment in the sector and the wider economy, finance availability continued to act as a brake on growth.

‘A continued reservation by lending institutions to supply financing for construction projects is preventing a more widespread recovery in the industry,’ he said.

In November 2012, leading architects told AJ that Barack Obama’s re-election as US president would boost the sector.

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