WASHINGTON, DC - Heightened demand for condo and apartment design services signals robust construction industry growth - a boon for the wood manufacturing industry, especially custom wood manufacturing firms in the Architectural Woodwork Institute and their non-affiliated competitors.

"Strong demand for apartment buildings and condominiums has been one of the main drivers in helping to keep the design and construction market afloat in recent years,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “There continues to be a healthy market for those types of design projects, but the recently resurgent Institutional sector is leading to broader growth for the entire construction industry.”

The latest Architecture Billings Index issued by the American Institute of Architects shows a rise in building project plans for all geographic regions, with all sectors market showing positive conditions.

AIA says its September index, an economic indicator of construction activity, reflects the nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The September ABI score was 55.2, up from 53.0 in August. Any score above 50 reflects an increase in design activity. The "new projects inquiry index" was 64.8, following a mark of 62.6 the previous month.

The AIA has also added a new indicator measuring the trends in new design contracts at architecture firms, a signal of the direction of future architecture billings. The score for design contracts in September was 56.8.

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