Category Archives: Codes & Regulations

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

Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST program

hudseal_teal_1Announcing the Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST program, an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) designed to promote compliance with the Fair Housing Act design and construction requirements. The program consists of a comprehensive training curriculum, as well as a toll-free information line and website designed to provide technical guidance to the public.

Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST & HUD will be providing a FREE FHA FIRST Design & Construction training in New York, NY on June 20th, 2017 from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The event is sponsored by the New York State Division of Human Rights and the training will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building, 6th Floor Conference Center, located at 26 Federal Plaza. A flyer with complete details is attached.is would be of particular interest to developers, builders, architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, property managers, general contractors, accessibility organizations, disability rights advocates, building code officials and government agencies.

The presenter will be Doug Anderson, CASp, R.A.S.; a partner at LCM Architects. The following modules will be covered:

· Module 10 – Design and Construction Requirements of the Fair Housing Act: Technical Overview

· Module 9 – Common Design & Construction Violations & Solutions

This training will provide members with 4½ hours of AIA-approved CEU credits and training certificates will be provided without cost to anyone who requests them.

Register for Fair Housing Design and Construction Training Here!

Architects Action Day – New Date

Due to a change in the NJ legislative schedule AIA NJ Architects Action Day will be postponed until November 2017. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope you will be able to join us this fall.

Do you want your voice to be heard?

Take a stand to preserve the common values we share in our profession.

When Architects speak up,
policy makers listen.

Join AIA New Jersey
for Architects Action Day
on June 12, 2017!

This full day event will be held at the New Jersey State House in Trenton.

All are welcome to attend. No prior legislative experience is needed.

Learn More – Speak Up – Click Here –

Effective May 1, 2017: N.J.A.C. Rule Adoption allowing Digital Signing and Sealing of Documents

NEW JERSEY REGISTER

Copyright © 2017 by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law

VOLUME 49, ISSUE 9

ISSUE DATE: MAY 1, 2017

RULE ADOPTIONS

LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY

DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS

STATE BOARD OF ARCHITECTS

49 N.J.R. 1093(a)

Adopted Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:27-3.1, 6.2, 6.3, and 8.9

Adopted New Rules: N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5 and 8.10

Digital Signing and Sealing of Documents

Proposed: October 3, 2016, at 48 N.J.R. 2028(a).

Adopted: February 24, 2017, by the New Jersey State Board of Architects, Obiora C. Agudosi, RA, President.

Filed: March 29, 2017, as R.2017 d.079, with non-substantial changes not requiring additional public notice and comment (see N.J.A.C. 1:30-6.3).

Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:3-3 and 45:3A-13.

Effective Date: May 1, 2017.

Expiration Date: February 7, 2018.

Summary of Public Comments and Agency Responses follows:

The official comment period ended December 2, 2016. The Board received one comment on the notice of proposal from Marc Pfeiffer, Assistant Director, Bloustein Local Government Research Center, Rutgers University. In order to ensure compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act and the rules promulgated by the Office of Administrative Law, the comment period was reopened and extended from December 19, 2016, to January 17, 2017. The Board received no additional comments during the extension.

1. Mr. Pfeiffer applauds the Board’s proposal, noting his support for the Board’s move to accept digital seals and signatures. However, he expresses concern that the link in proposed new N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5(a)1 and 8.10(a)1 to the standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is to a third-party web address and not to an address maintained by NIST. He recommends that the link be changed to a web address managed by NIST.

RESPONSE: The Board thanks Mr. Pfeiffer for his comments and understands his concern over the link. Third-party addresses can be altered or become defunct. The Board is changing N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5(a)1 and 8.10(a)1 and changing the link so it goes to the document hosted directly on the NIST website.

Summary of Agency-Initiated Changes: The State Board of Architects is changing N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5 and 8.10 on adoption to correct an error in the year listed as the publication date of the FIPS PUB 186-4 document. As proposed, it says the publication was released in 2014. The publication was actually released in 2013.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because the adopted amendments and new rules are subject to State statutory requirements and are not subject to any Federal requirements or standards.

Full text of the adoption follows (additions to proposal indicated in boldface with asterisks *thus*; deletions from proposal indicated in brackets with asterisks *[thus]*):

SUBCHAPTER 3. ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE AND RESPONSIBILITY

13:27-3.1 Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

. . .

“Electronic transmission” means the transmission of electronic data files from one electronic device to another. The term includes manual delivery of electronic data storage media from one person or entity to another.

. . .

“Seal” means a digital or impression type seal meeting the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5 and 8.10 and affixed to a document by a licensee.

“Signature” means a digital or handwritten signature of a licensee affixed to a document in accordance with N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5 and 8.10.

SUBCHAPTER 6. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A TITLE BLOCK

13:27-6.2 Title block contents; requirements by form of architectural practice

(a) When the architect practices as an individual or sole proprietor the title block shall contain:

1.-4. (No change.)

5. The name, license number, and space for the signature of the architect in responsible charge, and the date when signed.

(b) When a partnership or limited liability partnership of two or more licensed architects or closely allied professionals, in which at least one partner is an architect, practice architecture, the title block shall contain:

1.-4. (No change.)

5. The name, license number, and space for the signature of the architect in responsible charge, and the date when signed.

(c) When professionals practice architecture as a professional service corporation organized under N.J.S.A. 14A:17-1 et seq., the title block shall contain:

1.-4. (No change.)

5. The name, license number, and space for the signature of the architect in responsible charge, and the date when signed.

(d) Title block contents for a general business corporation or limited liability company authorized to practice architecture under a Certificate of Authorization issued pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:27-4.8 shall contain:

1.-4. (No change.)

5. The full name, license number, and space for the signature of the architect in responsible charge, and the date when signed.

(e)-(h) (No change.)

13:27-6.3 Signing and sealing construction documents

(a)-(b) (No change.)

(c) Construction documents and the title pages of the specifications for filing with a public agency or for the owner’s legal documentation requirements may be digitally signed and sealed if the digital signature and seal meet the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:27-6.5. An architect using a seal press shall seal construction documents only with seal presses purchased or exchanged through the Board. 1

3:27-6.5 Digital signatures and seals

(a) A digital signature and seal shall possess the same weight, authority, and effect as handwritten signature and pressure seal when the following criteria are met:

1. The digital signing and sealing process satisfies the requirements of the Digital Signature Standard (DSS) established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, FIPS PUB 186-4 *[(2014)]* *(2013)*, which is incorporated herein by reference, as amended and supplemented. This standard may be obtained at: *[http://cryptome.org/2013/07/NIST.FIPS.186-4.pdf]* *http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/FIPS/NIST.FIPS.186-4.pdf*. The digital signature and seal must be:

i. Unique to the licensee;

ii. Verifiable by a trusted third party or some other approved process as belonging to the licensee;

iii. Under the licensee’s direct and exclusive control; and

iv. Linked to a document in such a manner that the digital signature and seal is invalidated if any data in the document is changed. Once the digital signature and seal are applied to the document, the document shall be available in read-only format if the document is to be digitally transmitted.

(b) A licensee who digitally signs and seals a document shall maintain a digital copy of the electronically transmitted document that has also been digitally signed and sealed for future verification purposes.

(c) The pictorial representation of the digital signature and seal shall be readily available to the Board upon request and shall be produced in a [page=1094] manner acceptable to the Board. It shall contain the same words and shall have substantially the same graphic appearance and size as when the image of the digitally transmitted document is viewed at the same size as the document in its original form.

(d) Licensees are responsible for the use of their private digital keys. A lost or compromised key shall not be used and the licensee shall cause a new key pair to be generated in accordance with the criteria set forth in (a) above. A licensee shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a compromised key is invalidated, and shall inform all affected clients that the digital key has been compromised.

SUBCHAPTER 8. LICENSED LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS

13:27-8.9 Seal and signature

(a)-(d) (No change.)

(e) Construction documents and the title pages of the specifications for filing with a public agency or for the owner’s legal documentation requirements may be digitally signed and sealed if the digital signature and seal meet the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:27-8.10.

13:27-8.10 Digital signatures and seals

(a) A digital signature and seal shall possess the same weight, authority, and effect as handwritten signature and pressure seal when the following criteria are met:

1. The digital signing and sealing process satisfies the requirements of the Digital Signature Standard (DSS) established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, FIPS PUB 186-4 *[(2014)]* *(2013)*, which is incorporated herein by reference, as amended and supplemented. This standard may be obtained at: *[http://cryptome.org/2013/07/NIST.FIPS.186-4.pdf]* *http://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/FIPS/NIST.FIPS.186-4.pdf*. The digital signature and seal must be:

i. Unique to the licensee;

ii. Verifiable by a trusted third party or some other approved process as belonging to the licensee;

iii. Under the licensee’s direct and exclusive control; and

iv. Linked to a document in such a manner that the digital signature and seal is invalidated if any data in the document is changed. Once the digital signature and seal are applied to the document, the document shall be available in read-only format if the document is to be digitally transmitted.

(b) A licensee who digitally signs and seals a document shall maintain a digital copy of the electronically transmitted document that has also been digitally signed and sealed for future verification purposes.

(c) The pictorial representation of the digital signature and seal shall be readily available to the Board upon request and shall be produced in a manner acceptable to the Board. It shall contain the same words and shall have substantially the same graphic appearance and size as when the image of the digitally transmitted document is viewed at the same size as the document in its original form.

(d) Licensees are responsible for the use of their private digital keys. A lost or compromised key shall not be used and the licensee shall cause a new key pair to be generated in accordance with the criteria set forth in (a) above. A licensee shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that a compromised key is invalidated, and shall inform all affected clients that the digital key has been compromised.

END

Save the Date for AIA-NJ

Don’t forget to clear your calendar to attend these important AIA-NJ events…

May 19. NJ Re-Forum. Municipal Land Use Law. Details and registration here.

June 12. Architects Action Day. Register Here.

June 22. East Coast Green: Health, Safety & Wellness. Registration is open!

August 1. Community Resilience Course. Limited capacity; register here.

November 9-11. Quad States. AIA NJ Design Conference is at this event! Click here.

Fire Sprinkler Legislation Introduced

As originally printed in NorthJersey.com:

, State House Bureau, @nickpugz

Prieto, Tedesco unveil long-awaited fire legislation

Two years after a devastating fire ripped through a large Edgewater apartment complex and destroyed the homes of some 500 people, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto has introduced legislation intended to better protect residential buildings from fast moving blazes that can feast on wood construction.

The Democratic lawmaker from Secaucus, who is also a construction code official, appeared at the Edgewater Community Center on Friday alongside Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco and Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland, who spoke of the urgent need for two bills related to fire safety that Prieto quietly introduced last month.

“While we cannot prevent fires from starting, there are things we can do to prevent the spread of fire,” said Tedesco, a former firefighter who demanded fire safety reforms in his State of the County speech in February. “Together, these changes to the construction code will not only save lives of the residents in the event of a fire, but they’ll also save the lives of our firefighters and other first responders.”

Politicians, fire safety experts and citizen activists have been calling for changes to the state’s building code since Jan. 21, 2015, when an unlicensed maintenance worker using a blowtorch lit a piece of insulation on fire in the wall at the Avalon at Edgewater apartment complex on River Road.

What happened next, they say, proved New Jersey’s building code to be deficient. The flames were able to spread rapidly through the entire 240-unit building and, despite the efforts of first responders from more than 40 agencies, reduced everything but the concrete elevator shafts to rubble.

“We basically had an area the size of a city block engulfed in flames in a very, very, very short period of time,” McPartland recalled Friday. “Even though the apartment complex was equipped with sprinklers, the place literally burned to the ground and the residents lost everything they had.”

A very small price to pay’

Prieto’s first bill, A-96, which is co-sponsored by assemblymen Tim Eustace, D-Maywood, and Joe Lagana, D-Paramus, responds to a few key concerns that were raised in the wake of the Edgewater fire.

First, it would mandate that all concealed combustible spaces in wood-frame multi-unit residences — the type of buildings that thousands of New Jerseyans call home — be equipped with some sort of automatic fire-suppression system.

Currently, New Jersey’s building code doesn’t require sprinkler heads in such places as attics or the void spaces in floors and ceilings. In the case of the Avalon at Edgewater complex, that meant there was nothing to knock down the fire as it traveled through the building’s attics, walls and floor assemblies.

Second, the bill would tamp down on the use of “pedestal construction”  by developers. Typically, those are parking garages on which residential units are built that allow them to construct buildings with more floors than would otherwise be permitted under the code.

Firefighters say pedestals make it harder to reach flames and can put residents on upper levels out of reach of first-responders.

Third, the bill limits the size of wood-frame buildings without a robust fire suppression system to two floors and 10,000 square feet per floor. Any developer who wants more square footage would have to install masonry fire walls between attached buildings.

That provision is intended to constrain how large any one fire can grow.

Prieto described the measure as a middle-of-the-road approach that achieves enhanced fire protection while minimizing the impact on construction costs. He estimated that the new sprinkler mandate would cost developers about $1,000 per unit.

“That is a very small price to pay to be able to get this additional protection,” he said. “We have left in place for them to be able to build the right density and be able to keep building affordable housing.”

‘They’re playing the politicians’

But several people in attendance Friday said Prieto’s legislation doesn’t go far enough.

Edgewater Fire Chief Thomas Jacobson said he had hoped the bill would restrict the use of engineered wood — commonly referred to as “lightweight wood” — in residential buildings like the Avalon complex. Developers often prefer engineered wood because it’s cheaper and faster to assemble, but it also burns and collapses faster in the event of a fire.

“I still would rather see noncombustible materials used in buildings of that magnitude, you know, concrete, steel, something that’s not going to burn,” he said. “But at least the ball has started to be pushed in the right direction.”

Alexi Assmus, a citizen activist from Princeton who manages a Facebook groups called Massive Fires Damage Lives, criticized the bill for continuing to permit the construction of “mega-lot buildings” that, in the event of a fire, can result in multiple homes being consumed.

“The bill protects life safety, but it still doesn’t protect the loss of hundreds of homes in a single fire start,” she said. “You could still have a huge conflagration.”

She also dismissed the notion that lawmakers need to be so sensitive toward the building industry when crafting fire safety legislation. A recent state Supreme Court ruling that municipalities have to clear the way for the construction of tens of thousands of affordable housing units for low- and moderate-income residents, she said, is enough of a boon for developers.

“They’re able to build these very high-density apartments with combustible construction,” she said of New Jersey’s developers. “And everyone says, ‘Oh, affordable housing, we can’t do anything.’ They’re playing the public. They’re playing the judges. They’re playing the politicians.”

The second bill Prieto announced Friday, A-97, would require a fire safety expert to monitor any construction site where multi-unit residential buildings like apartments or hotels are being built.

Advocates have called for so-called “fire watches” in light of recent fires at an apartment complex under construction in Maplewood and elsewhere across the country.

June target for passage

Prieto, who works as a construction code official in Secaucus and Guttenberg, took more than two years from the time of the Edgewater fire to propose changes to New Jersey’s building code, saying he has been working for months to earn the buy-in of various interest groups and officials. Nonetheless, one of the bills he announced Friday was nearly identical to a measure, A-1914, that has been pending in the Legislature since December 2015, when it was introduced by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex.

Prieto said he intended to get both his bills through the Legislature by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

“This is a bill that I think will have overwhelming support in the Assembly, and the Senate will follow suit,” he said.

NJ Re-Forum Event Planned

AIA NJ Members…Land Use Law Reform discussion REGISTER TODAY

AIA New Jersey has signed on a part of the MLUL Reform Steering Committee and will be involved in the discussion.  Hope to see you there.

Municipal Land Use Law Re-Forum

Are you a municipal official, planner, developer, land use attorney, architect, or anyone else with an interest in local development who has found themselves frustrated by the ins and outs of the Municipal Land Use Law?  If so, join us for a Re-Forum where our open meeting format will allow participants to shape the agenda on what changes you’d like to see!

 

reforum_2017info.png

 

Today marks the 106th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of New York City

On March 25, 1911, mere minutes before closing time, a fire broke out in a garment factory, just off of Washington Square.

triangle shirtwaist factory image

While the building was equipped with two fire escapes, one only opened inward and the other was locked from the outside to prevent theft. Of the four elevators, only one was operational. Fire sprinkler systems were available, but the owners avoided their installation in order to continue the practice of secretly starting their own off-hours factory fires to commit insurance fraud. With corrupt and unscrupulous owners such as these, a long history of greedy and irresponsible behavior in their past, the underpaid, exploited workers, mostly desperate and undocumented immigrant young women, stood little chance of survival.

Of the 500 employees, 145 died tragically, trapped inside the inferno, many jumping to their death from the 9th floor, rather than being burned alive.

Despite public outrage, the owners got off virtually scot-free, eventually paying the victims’ families a mere $75 per life lost, and continuing most of their outrageous, life-threatening business practices for years to come.

The most horrifying of the realities surrounding this incident is how many of these atrocities still exist today. Garment factories, and many other industries, in CA and NY, especially, still employ many of the same terror tactics to keep their employees powerless to protect themselves. Undocumented immigrants still dominate America’s lowest level work force, permitting them to fall through the cracks of labor law protection. Large cities are frequently understaffed and too overworked to make the necessary inspections, ensuring that every workplace is properly constructed and maintained to meet regulations for the safety of their employees. And when it is possible, very often city government corruption allows for criminal business owners to find ways around the requirements. On top of all of that, we hear almost weekly of another fire ravaging a community, taking lives, robbing people of their homes, possessions, workplaces and loved ones.

The 2017 AIA Statement of Values includes standing for equity and human rights. It includes standing for architecture that strengthens our communities. It includes speaking up to policymakers to protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of the public.

AIA NJ continues to work, lending expertise and information, writing white papers and influencing legislation, to do our part to protect society from potential future tragedies. Look for upcoming reports on our current efforts and actions on behalf of all of our members, or better yet, join a committee and lend your voice to the call!  We invite you, we challenge you, to be a part of the solution.

For a complete record of this tragedy, click here.

The PBS documentary can be found by clicking here.

Community Resilience Course

Community Resilience Course
Hosted by: AIA New Jersey
August 1, 2017
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
AIA-NJ
Join us for our Community Resilience course and learn about the meaningful actions that you and your community can take to enhance resilience to natural hazards and of the opportunities available to incorporate these actions into professional practice. Increase your understanding about community resilience (CR) and how it can benefit hazard planning, including practices of how community resilience can be enhanced at the local level. Learn about resources and tools that can assist to identify the various components of risk and strategies for integrating community resilience into existing plans and programs.

 

Location
Holiday Inn East Windsor
399 Monmouth St.
East Windsor, NJ 08520

More Information
Click Here

Register
Please utilize the registration code: 15706

All interested participants must need create a NDPTC online profile to register for the course, the online profiles can be created here.

Once a profile is created, the interested participant can select the course delivery and register to attend. If you already have a profile please log in using your credentials and then register for the course.

AIANJ To Host Architect’s Action Day

Save the Date for:

AIANJ Architect’s Action Day

Where: Trenton, NJ

When:  June 12, 2017

More details on this event coming soon.
Architects, Associates, Students – save the date to participate in this inaugural event at the NJ State Capital.

AIANJ_ArchActionDay2017

The voice of AIA is making things happen for you and the environment

JOIN THE CHARGE! 

Status Report on Letter to Senate Committees & Call to Action:

AIAeagle_2016On January 15, 2017, the AIA Committee on the Environment Advisory Group crafted a petition to the DOE and EPA Senate Hearing Committees. AIA-NJ has participated in this effort, signing on for its promotion. Here is an excerpt: 

We, the undersigned architects, our colleagues, and sustainable design experts, recognize that our nation will need to make substantial changes in how we utilize our natural and energy resources if we are going to be able to compete in the 21st century and maintain livable environments for future generations.  We support governmental and private sector policy programs that promote the design, preservation, and construction of sustainable communities and high-performance buildings, they are consistent with our core values and professional and civic responsibilities. These programs provide jobs, cleaner air and water for everyone, and the kind of forward looking vision the world expects from America.”

YOU, TOO, CAN SIGN THE PETITION: Please click here

The AIA has sent us an update on the status: 

Dear Ben Lee, AIA

Thank you so much for signing the recent letter to the DOE and EPA Senate Hearing Committees. The response was overwhelming – 1089 signatures and counting! We’re writing to share the status of the letter plus seek your interest in continuing to advocate for the issues raised in the letter.

First, the good news is that the letter has been delivered and was well received. It was hand delivered to several local offices of Senators on the committees including Vermont, California, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts. In addition, last week several members of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Advisory Group gave copies of the letter at meetings on Capitol Hill to key staffers at the House Democratic Energy and Commerce Committee, Senate Democratic Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and to Senator Bernie Sanders’ staff.  The group shared information about the critical importance of the many EPA and DOE programs and resources to our work in achieving energy efficient and clean energy solutions which benefit both the economy and the environment. The staff response was very positive and they urged us to provide additional facts and data supporting the importance of these resources.

We are now organizing a network of architects and design professionals to continue to advocate for key issues concerning the design of the built environment at the federal, state and local levels. Our work has just begun! We welcome your participation in this advocacy effort.

If interested in becoming part of the COTE Advocacy network, please complete the form at this address: Please click here