February kicked off the year with a pair of building code seminars for the 2015 IBC and IRC at the Palace in Somerset. There were well over 250 attendees to learn about the changes to both codes, which had not been updated since 2009. As of March 21st we are officially beyond the grace period and into the new codes. Hopefully, you were able to attend the code seminars, but if you did not, Robert Longo AIA, AIANJ Codes & Standards Chair wrote a brief article on the code changes you can find on our blog.
Also in February, more than 12 AIA-NJ leaders attended the AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference in Detroit, MI. I have been attending Grassroots since about 2005 and I find that each time I attend I come back to NJ inspired and excited to implement ideas and programs for the new year. This year was the first year since I began attending the conference that it focused on Leadership programming and did not have part of the event focused on Advocacy. I have to applaud AIA on this change. This July will be the second half of Grassroots, dubbed as “SpeakUp”, will happen in Washington D.C. The event will focus on training AIA members to become leaders in Advocacy. If you are interested in learning about the federal legislative process and how to become an active advocate for AIA and the built environment contact AIA-NJ.
Our Public Awareness Committee has been very active highlighting several of our members on diverse subjects. On February 23rd Stephen Schoch AIA of Kitchen & Associates was interviewed by Construction Dive regarding FHA and ADA accessibility in multi-family housing. William J. Martin AIA, Co-Chair of the AIANJ Public Awareness Committee and a member of the Bergen County Historical Preservation Commission was quoted in two articles regarding church fires in March due to their historic significance. Kimberly Bunn AIA, AIA-NJ Immediate Past President, was featured in an article for Women’s History Month on none other than Eleanore Pettersen FAIA. Most recently Stephen Schwartz AIA was featured in NJBIZ regarding architects who have taken the plunge into development. To top things off our Public Awareness Committee had fun during National Architecture Week with #archselfienj for #archweek16. Thanks to all those members that participated!
I have been fortunate to have maintained a close relationship with the College of Architecture & Design (CoAD) at NJIT and have been working with the Director of the School of Architecture, Richard Garber AIA, on a multi-week BIM program that will be held this summer at the school and offered to AIA-NJ members. Not only will participants learn the basics on BIM, but will also learn how BIM can be integrated into your practice.
I am proud to announce that AIA-NJ’s Taskforce on Lightweight Construction, which was formed after the AvalonBay Edgewater, NJ fire in January 2015, has completed a whitepaper on “Building Design with Lightweight-Framed Construction and the Health, Safety, and Welfare of the Public”. This document will be issued in order to better educate the public and our legislators about the findings of the Taskforce. I want to thank the Taskforce for its work and look forward to the discussions that will occur as a result of the whitepaper. Members who are interested in joining the Codes & Standards Committee to continue the work of this Taskforce are welcome to contact AIA-NJ.
In closing, I want to congratulate our new Fellows, Dean Marchetto FAIA and Michael Schnoering FAIA who will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2016 National AIA Convention in Philadelphia May 19th-21st. AIA-NJ will be honoring our newest Fellows at the AIA-NJ Fellows Reception on Thursday, May 19th at the Hotel Palomar, formerly the AIA Building in Philadelphia. If you plan on attending please contact Laura Slomka at AIA-NJ to RSVP. The AIA Fellowship Committee will be hosting a presentation on “Demystifying Fellowship”on Tuesday April 26th at 5 pm at the NJIT AIA room and on Wednesday, April 27th at 5 pm at the office of KSS Architects in Princeton. If you are considering applying for Fellowship then you need to attend.
See you at the Convention in Philly!
Justin A. Mihalik, AIA
AIA New Jersey Presiden