Category Archives: Codes & Regulations

Information on codes and regulations that effect architecture in New Jersey.

Earth Day Irony

AIAeagle_2016By Russell A. Davidson, FAIA

As the U.S. Senate passed its long-delayed energy bill April 21, the irony was acute. Here was the world’s greatest deliberative body voting to kill carbon-cutting requirements for the federal government – on the eve of Earth Day and the signing of the COP 21 climate treaty in Paris.

In three short lines in more than 800-pages of legislation, the Senate repealed a policy that is already helping buildings owned by Uncle Sam – the nation’s largest landlord – cut greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the Senate voted to eliminate Section 433 from the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires that new and majorly renovated federal buildings meet incremental targets leading to net zero energy consumption by 2030. The House last year also voted to repeal this provision in the landmark statute, an action which President Obama at the time said he would veto.

Through design, our profession is helping guide building owners, consumers and governments – particularly Uncle Sam – to be leaders in energy conservation and reduced dependence on the use of fossil fuels. Residential and commercial buildings account for almost 40 percent of both total U.S. energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. According to government statistics, better designed buildings have already saved our country approximately $560 billion in energy costs since 2005.

So why is Congress so determined to roll back this common-sense and money-saving provision? Section 433’s opponents (primarily the fossil fuel lobby) claim that it is simply too difficult to implement. But that ignores the realities of a market where such renovated federal buildings like the Wayne Aspinall federal courthouse in Colorado and the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, Ore. are meeting the 2030 targets right now. In fact, the renovated Portland building was delivered 10 months early, saving taxpayers more than $900,000 in the process.

Meanwhile, stakeholders from a broad array of industries have been working with the Energy Department to implement this rule in a way that is smart, efficient, and effective.

Requiring significant energy reduction targets in new and majorly renovated federal buildings demonstrates to the private sector that Uncle Sam can set an example for other nations to follow. The targets help spur the development of new materials, construction techniques, and technologies to make buildings more energy efficient. And they show that significant energy reductions are both practical and cost- effective.

That’s why not only architects, but more than 300 other groups oppose efforts to weaken this energy-saving policy. We hope this short- sighted repeal is stripped from any bill that emerges from a House-Senate conference. And if it isn’t, the president should veto this mis- guided legislation.

Russell A. Davidson, FAIA, is president of the American Institute of Architects.

AIANJ Lightweight Task Update

AIAeagle_2016AIA NJ President Justin Mihalik, AIA, was interviewed on May 25 on News 12 NJ regarding the AIA-NJ Taskforce on Lightweight Construction.  The task force issued it’s findings, hoping for positive changes that foster greater public safety.

Read the full article here –

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Understanding RREM & LMI Homeowners Rebuilding Program

RREM Outreach Flyer 5 2016

NJ DCA Announces RREM and LMI Training Session

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Sandy Recovery Division is hosting a Training Session about the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program and Low- to Moderate-Income (LMI) Homeowners Rebuilding Program from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30th, at the Moonachie Civic Center in Moonachie, Bergen County. Below, please find a flyer with additional information. This session is intended for both architects already working with homeowners in the program and those interested in working with homeowners in the program.

People interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Lisa Ryan at [email protected] at least one day prior to the Training Session to reserve their spot and to submit any suggested questions or topics they would like addressed if time permits. If you have any questions about this program, please contact Lisa Ryan.

Lisa M. Ryan
Director, Strategic Communications
Sandy Recovery Division
New Jersey Department of Community Affairs
PO Box 823
Trenton, NJ 08625-0823
(609) 292-7083
[email protected]

Builder Outreach Flyer 3-2016

 

CE Academy Continuing Education Event

CE Academy organizes 4-8 hours of continuing education in a seminar format so you can earn multiple CE Hours (LU’s) in one day. All courses are educational in content and AIA registered. Many courses also offer continuing education hours for GBCI, GBCI for LEED Professionals, ADA (American Disabilities Act), State specific requirements, and other specialty hours.

CE Academy will manage the reporting of your credits to the AIA and email you certificates of completion after the event.

Questions or register online here.

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NOTE:  This is not an AIA New Jersey event, the provider is a registered Continuing Education provider, please contact them directly with any questions.

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2015 NJ Code Update

AIAeagle_2016On September 21, 2015, NJ formally adopted the 2015 ICC series of codes including the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC), the International Mechanical Code (IMC), the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) along with the National Electric Code NFPA 70-2014.

As with all NJ subcode revisions there is a 6 month grace period in which the design professional can chose to use either the current or previous version of the code. The grace period is about to expire, and all applications submitted for plan review after March 21, 2016 will be required to use the 2015 codes.

The National Standard Plumbing Code 2015,  was not adopted until January 4 2016, so the option to use the previous version of the plumbing subcode only, is still available until July 6, 2016.

This is the first code update since 2009 and it comes with literally hundreds of changes.

Below is a small sample of some of the significant changes to the code.

  • Wind born debris regions that trigger the requirement for impact resistant glazing have been modified. This will affect many buildings along the NJ Shore.
  • Institutional uses, including medical offices & assisted living facilities will be affected by the addition of “Occupancy Conditions.”
  • Most of the Barrier Free Subcode requirements have been moved to Chapter 11 of IBC.
  • Egress requirements from mezzanines have been changed.
  • New sprinkler requirements for buildings with assembly occupancies on roofs.
  • New requirements for low level “Exit” signs in some occupancies.

Visit the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) home page for a complete list of code adoptions with links to full versions of the codes online. http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/codreg/

Robert Longo, AIA
AIANJ Codes & Standards Chair

President’s Message -Illegal Practice

JAM_headshotEarlier this month a story broke out of California from Fox News on two people who posed as licensed engineers and using stolen software, drew up plans for homes, apartments, commercial properties and strip malls in at least 56 cities in Southern California since 2003.  These two men worked for a Professional Engineering firm and were “moonlighting” and were even poaching clients of the firm that employed them, which is what eventually led to the demise of their illegal actions.  “There has never been a case involving alleged engineering fraud of this magnitude”, was a quote from the Detective on the case, who further was quoted saying,“ we just don’t know if the houses are safe, unsafe or suitable for habitation”.

I have spent many of my years as the Chair of the Licensing Subcommittee on the AIANJ Legislative & Government Affairs Committee, and throughout that time received communication from many members about people practicing architecture illegally in their community and what AIANJ would do about it.  When I explained that it was their individual responsibility as a Registered Architect in NJ to report to the State Board of Architects of said illegal practice, the members were not willing to act.  Why?  Well in most cases they were afraid of some kind of repercussions.  What repercussions could be worse than the effects that illegal practice has on our profession?  Cheaper fees, sub-par services including construction without supervision, etc.  I have said to each and every person who talks to me about this subject that it is OUR responsibility to police OUR industry.  I personally submitted a complaint against a “designer” who proudly displayed their lawn sign, proudly marketed their services on their Facebook page with testimonials from clients and proudly presented themselves as an Architect.  It was the lawn sign that told me the person was not a registered architect and led me to check with the State Board of Architects website and voila, no license!  The designer gave all the necessary evidence through their Facebook page and website for me to use against them.  I submitted a complaint to the State Board of Architects and a couple months later received a copy of the findings of the Board, which resulted in over $9,000 in fines.  But the fines were not only levied against the designer, but against the registered Architect who signed and sealed the plans.

There is no doubt in my mind that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to the illegal practice of architecture here in NJ.  The people practicing illegally are employees who are moonlighting, designers who went to architecture school but just don’t want to commit to the licensing process, design-builders, contractors, the list goes on.  AIANJ is committed to take this problem on by way of educating the public about illegal practice and the dangers of those people who are posing as registered Architects.  This subject is very important to the organization, but we cannot do this alone.  We need our members to act vigilantly and report illegal activity to the State Board of Architects by filing a complaint.  The form is very simple and takes 15 minutes to complete.  I am also providing a link to a AIANJ Blog article on this subject providing more detailed information on filing a complaint.

We must all understand that the real repercussions by not filing a complaint are allowing those who are practicing illegally to continue to do so and to have a direct impact against our businesses and livelihoods.  Once we take this seriously, we will begin to elevate the Value of the Architect.

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Justin A. Mihalik, AIA

AIA New Jersey 2016 President

What Architects Need to Know About Responsible Charge

by David Del Vecchio, AIA
AIANJ Legislative & Government Affairs Chair  (L&GA)

A2023 was signed into law in New Jersey on January 11, 2016.  The bill revises the definition of “responsible charge” as it pertains to licensed professional engineers and land surveyors.  AIA New Jersey requested amendments to include architects along with the professional engineers and land surveyors included in the original language.

The original bill sought to revise the standard of supervision a professional engineer or land surveyor must give to individuals whose work affects the quality and competence of the professional services of the building design professional.  More specifically, the bill would change the definition of “responsible charge” as it pertains to architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, or land surveying work.

The bill defines “responsible charge” to mean the providing of oversight by a competent building design professional by means calculated to provide personal direction to, and quality control over, the efforts of subordinates of the licensee which directly and materially affects the quality and competence of the professional services rendered by the licensee.

The bill amends a section of law that currently lists various acts or practices engaged in by a licensed closely allied professionals that are deemed to be acts or practices in which that licensee has not rendered proper supervision.

The bill removes from this enumerated list of acts or practices contained in current law reference to the regular and continuous absence from principal office premises from which professional services are rendered, except for performance of field work or presence in a field office maintained exclusively for a specific project.

AIA New Jersey Legislative Committee was successful in having the bill amended to revise the definition of “responsible charge,” as it relates to engineers and architects, to mean the provision of regular and effective supervision by a competent professional engineer or architect, as the case may be, who shall provide personal direction to, and quality control over, the efforts of subordinates of the licensee which directly and materially affects the quality and competence of the professional services rendered by the licensee.

The amendments specify that a licensee engaged in the rendering of a limited, cursory or perfunctory review of plans or projects in lieu of providing sufficient direction to, and quality control over, the efforts of subordinates of the licensee shall be deemed not to have rendered regular and effective supervision.  Plan stamping is still plan stamping.

So while the bill allows building design professionals to provide personal direction and quality control to staff not located in the same office location, it maintains the prohibition Plan Stamping.

AIANJ Code Seminar February

 UPDATE NOTE:  1/6/2016 – Additional space at the facility has been obtained, class size restrictions have been raised to for both days.

 

Get Involved in AIANJ EPiC

red_eagleWe are looking for members who are interested in becoming 2016 Section Directors within our Emerging Professionals Community (EPiC), which consists of architecture school graduates, AIA Associate members, and AIA members licensed for 10 years or less. Our mission is to promote the professional growth of emerging architects and support local communities through advocacy, education, and service. Through consistent communication and coordination between the state committee and local sections throughout New Jersey, EPiC provides programming, events, and service opportunities for our members to have fun while building relationships, developing leadership skills, and increasing emerging professional’s involvement within

the profession.

The Section Director position has a term of one year. Responsibilities of the position include:

– Promote the EPiC mission within your local AIA NJ section
– Attend a monthly teleconference with the state EPiC Committee
– Participation in one or more committees chaired by the state At-Large Directors

As a newly revived community within the AIA, EPiC provides a great opportunity to shape the emerging professional programming at both the section and state level. Such programming includes:

Hill Day: Advocacy training and meetings with New Jersey legislators in Trenton -ARE Seminars: Courses to help you pass the licensing exams
Service Opportunities: Design small impactful projects in local communities
Leadership Training: Improve your skills and promote member involvement

If you are interested in becoming an EPiC Section Director we would like to hear from you.

Please submit a letter of interest by e-mail to [email protected] by January 8, 2016 (500 words). Be sure to include your AIA NJ section in your letter. Although not required, we will accept up to two letters of recommendation (500 words).

We look forward to your interest.

Jessica O’Donnell, AIA

2016 EPiC Chair

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