Architectural Billings Index

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is derived from the monthly Work-on-the-Boards survey conducted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Economics Market Research Group. ABI is a leading economic indicator that leads nonresidential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months. Participants in the monthly Work-on-the-Boards survey panel are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same as the preceding month. According to the proportion of respondents choosing each option, a score is generated, which represents an index value for each month.

Building product manufacturers use it for many purposes, including:
  • Forecasting future orders.
  • Understanding regional trends.
  • Evaluating sales territory performance.
I recently used it to understand fluctuations in visits to a client's website; traffic was down because architectural activity was down.

The AIA White Paper, “Architecture Billings as a Leading Indicator of Construction: Analysis of the Relationship Between a Billings Index and Construction Spending,” describes the history and development of the ABI. For more information and to subscribe, contact James Chu, Director of Research, (202) 626-8045 or, or visit