Monthly Archives: June 2009

AIA-NJ Talks About Architectural Issues With Republican Gubernatorial Candidate

Left to right: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, AIA-NJ President Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA-NJ Regional Director David Del Vecchio, APAC Representative Scott Lurie, NJ Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Christie

Left to right: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, AIA-NJ President Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA-NJ Regional Director David Del Vecchio, APAC Representative Scott Lurie, NJ Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Christie

Members of AIA New Jersey, including AIA-NJ President Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, attended a fundraiser for the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA). In attendance was Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Chairman of the RGA as well as Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Christie. The event was another in a long list of events funded by APAC. The RGA has committed $2 million dollars to this years NJ Governor’s race through their 527 campaign committee. Governor Barbour was in town at the home of Roger and Laura Bodman raising money for this activity. APAC was in attendance at this intimate gathering and had an opportunity to educate the candidate on issues important to licensed NJ Architects and AIA-NJ.

Autodesk Adds Significant New Benefits to Assistance Program

Displaced Workers Now Have Access to 17 Products and Enhanced eLearning; Employers Get Discount for Hiring Program Participants; New Term License for AutoCAD software

With more than 5,000 participants in the Autodesk Assistance Program and more than 5,000 product downloads to date, Autodesk is announcing significant additions to the program announced six weeks ago. The program was designed to help displaced workers in the architecture, engineering, design and manufacturing industries maintain and develop their 3D design technology skills and help improve their employability in a down economy.
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Status of IBC2009 in New Jersey

Note from Codes & Standards Committee on IBC2009

Many of our members have heard rumors that a new IBC code is going to be adopted for use in the state of New Jersey over the next month. The AIA-NJ Code Committee chair had a discussion with DCA and was told that they are targeting December 2009, to adopt the 2009 IBC.

A list of current adopted codes for use in New Jersey can be found at the DCA’s website –
AIA-NJ will also keep up updated as this and other codes are adopted in New Jersey.

How the Public Perceives the Architect

This article appeared in Vol. 21, Issue 6 of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal (June 12, 2009)

By Jerome Leslie Eben, AIA, PP, CID, NFPA

When I am at a gathering and meeting people for the first time, it is inevitable that they will ask, “What do you do for a living?” When I say that I am an architect, their response goes something like, “I considered being an architect, but couldn’t deal with the math!” When I ask if they know any architects, they reply, “There are the two Franks, but I can’t remember their last names…and wasn’t George Constanza an architect?”

Well, the two Franks are Wright and Gehry, and no, George (a fictional character on the television sitcom “Seinfeld”) was not an architect, but often claimed to be when he wanted to make a good first impression. Continue reading


Article appeared in Vol. 21, Issue 6 of the Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal (June 12, 2009)

By Seth A. Leeb, AIA
Immediate Past President, New Jersey Chapter, American Institute of Architects

Seth A. Leeb, AIA, immediate past present of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) is the principal of Seth A. Leeb Architect in Parsippany, N.J., which specializes in home additions and remodeling. He says that homeowners frequently make the mistake of not hiring an architect to lead their home-building or remodeling project. In this Q & A he addresses the issue of why the architect is important to the home-building team.

Why should the architect be the lead professional?

The architect wears many hats. Continue reading

Free Continuing Eduction Credits

At a recent AIA Newark Suburban board meeting we were discussing ways to increase the benefits to the membership.  One board member said that one of the most common email and phone call questions he gets is about where to find low cost continuing education (CE) credits. Especially at this time of odd numbered years when NJ architect licenses are set for renewal by August 1st.

As most members know, membership includes monthly general meetings.  At these meetings we usually have a CE event.  This is also the case at the other local components throughout AIA NJ.  These are a great source of knowledge and CE credit.

Another great source of CE material is online. Much of it at no cost. I frequently read the articles found at McGraw Hill Construction (, publishers of Architectural Record, ENR, Green Source, and Sweets. After reading the articles, either online or in print form, I usually take the online test.  The system notifies me that I have passed and forwards the passing grade to the AIA’s group that keeps track of the records.  I also print out (usually to PDF file) a copy of the certificate for my records.  All at no cost.  You can’t beat that.  For a $10 fee the test can be taken on paper (either from the tear-out in the printed publications or printed from the online version) and mailed in to be graded and recorded.

Most of the articles are usually of very high quality technical knowledge and take a little more than an hour including the ten question test.  Many articles are labeled for HSW and the new SD (sustainable design) credits. I generally find the ones not written by representatives of product manufacturers and service companies to be of the greatest value, but I’ll leave that judgment up to you.

Each licensing jurisdiction may have different requirements on the number of CE credits that can be accepted in this format. I believe NJ accepts up to 7 credits per cycle. Check each jurisdiction to make sure you are in compliance.

Here are the links to a few of many hundreds of excellent no cost online CE articles.  Enjoy.

Robert Mencarini, AIA

AIA Newark Suburban Architects, Trustee 2007-2009

BIM Promotes Sustainability

Best Practices in Integrated Project Delivery

Energy Modeling for Sustainability



New Jersey’s support for historic preservation has been especially strong since the 1980s. Through the New Jersey Historic Trust, more than 70 million dollars have been invested and hundreds of buildings having been restored throughout the state. Funding for the valuable programs provided by the Trust and open space are expiring and are in jeopardy under the current effort to settle upon upcoming fiscal year’s budget which begins July 1. The work to complete this budget is coming to a close quickly- well before the July 1 deadline. NJHT’s funding has meant much to architects, engineers, contractors, non-profit organizations and local governments.
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AIA Newark & Suburban Sponsors Design Competition for Newark Visitors Center

Newark Visitors Center Competition

Newark Visitors Center Competition

The partnership of AIA Newark & Suburban, Emerging Professionals and the Young Architects Forum invites designers from all over the world to find innovative, visionary and compelling proposals for a Newark, New Jersey Visitor’s Center.

For more information goto:

Some Other Useful BIM & IPD Information Sources…

I’ve been working with BIM, mostly Revit, for 10 years now.  In the beginning there wasn’t much published on the subject. It wasn’t even called BIM.  Back then the terms were more like Object Modeling and virtual building.  Now, not only do we have numerous printed books, we also have scores of software & service companies, websites, blogs and wiki’s devoted to all sorts of BIM tools and processes.
Ten years ago, blogs and wiki’s didn’t even exist.  Now they are one of the greatest just-in-time learning tools available.  And the best part is the information is completely free.

Every day I spend at least a few minutes glancing at what others have posted.  Almost every day there is something of value.  Here I’ll share with you a few of the ways to find these great sources of information.

The first tool in my BIM knowledge toolbelt is Google Alerts.  Google Alerts are a free web news clipping service.  You sign up for any topic you are interested in, not limited to BIM, and every day or week Google Alerts will email you the new or revised links regarding that topic.  It’s as if someone is reading every single online reference to a particular subject and clipping out the link, writing a synopsis, and emailing them to you.  Google Alerts automatically keeps track of what it has sent you in the past and only sends the updates.  I have a few Google Alerts set up to subjects such as Revit, Bentley Architecture, Archicad, various IPD topics and tools, Autodesk, etc.  I have them set to email once per day.  I could also set it to send as it finds them, which is too frequent for me, or once per week.  Once every day I get an email that tells me about any web-news article, any blog, or wiki regarding BIM or Revit or what ever the Alert is set to. This keeps me very informed about the subject.

The first step to setting up a Google Alert is to create a free Google Account (  This account give you access to all of the free Google tools.  Some people call this the Google OS.  It includes email, Contact Manager, Calendar, Google Docs (Writer, Spreadsheet, Slide Presentation, etc.) I’ll write more on these very useful tools in a future post.  Once your Google account is set up you go to: to set up a Google Alert. Enter the Search Terms, the type of places to search, how often to send it to you, and to what email address or RSS feed to send it to.  That’s it.  All for free.  I highly recommend this free tool.

The are many blogs that I look at least every few days.  I’ll list them out in no particular order.  There are many more available.  Do a search and see what helps you the most: by Paul Aubin, author of Mastering Revit Architecture book by Steve Stafford by James Vandezande, SOM colleague by Scott Rosenbloom, SOM colleague by David Fano

The list could go on.  I have over fifty in my Google (blog) Reader.  I suggest you do a search, see what you find and share the really good ones by posting a comment to this post.


Welcome to the AIA NJ Technology In Practice Blog!

The purpose of the AIA NJ Technology In Practice blog is to share knowledge about the use of technology in the professional lives of our members and their firms.
The goal is to expand the knowledge, flatten the learning curve, and decrease the time it takes to implement and benefit from the tools and technologies that allow Architects to be more efficient, more productive, & more profitable.

A decade ago, having been involved with the use of technology in residential and large and small scale commercial / institutional architecture since the mid 1980’s I jumped at the chance to join a small startup software company in Massachusetts called Charles River Software. The goal of this company and it’s founders was to deliver on the promise of what technology can offer the AEC industry. This company, later known as Revit Technology Corporation became part of Autodesk, Inc. in 2002 where my role was working with firms around the United States and beyond implementing these new tools. I left Autodesk in 2005 to form my own BIM consulting and architecture firm. Eventually, after many years of working with firms on the early implementation stages of BIM tools, I joined Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, LLP in NYC as a Senior Manager of Virtual Design + Construction, for the opportunity to apply this knowledge on very large buildings with teams that are beyond the early adopter phases of Building Information Modeling.

We’ll start the blog with two main areas, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD).

In this context the term technology means more than the many electronic hardware and software tools available to architects. It also means processes and procedures that can help us achieve our goals. The tools and processes that we use interconnect to form a fabric that runs throughout our business. I have a long list of topics and links to related and helpful information to start this knowledge share and ensuing discussions.

I suspect, as I’ve seen in other related ventures, the interconnections from BIM to IPD to Sustainable Design is very much intertwined. The implementation of one informs the needs and uses of the others.

As the Editor and Contributor of the AIA NJ Technology in Practice blog I will share with you my knowledge in these areas and invite others, from within the AIA NJ community and beyond, to share their knowledge as well.

I look forward to this opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with the AIA NJ community.

Robert Mencarini, AIA

AIA Newark Suburban Architects, Trustee 2007-2009