Category Archives: Codes & Regulations

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

ArchiPAC Update- Race for the ArchiCUP!

ArchiPac_2015AdvocateThe Convention in Atlanta was a great success for ArchiPAC and I wanted to thank those AIANJ members that contributed while there!  Thus far ArchiPAC has raised $24,000 and recruited 225 members.  This year at Convention to make things interesting there was a competition amongst the Chapters and team ArchiAdvocates, which included AIANJ, took 4th place and raised $4,326.50 with 31 contributors!  It was a very close race and was all in good fun!  I wanted to provide AIANJ members with a legislative update to understand that AIA Advocacy is working hard on your behalf and we continue to need your help so that AIA can continue to lobby on behalf of its members with our legislators.  Here is the latest update from AIA headquarters:

  • Design-Build reform: Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that takes steps to improve the design-build process federal procurement process.  A similar bill, Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2015 (HR 1555) was introduced by Representative Sam Graves (R-MO).  AIA has been a critical factor in the emergency of Sen. Portman, Rep. Graves and others as champions for reforms within the federal procurement arena.
  • Small Business Administration size standards: Ron Reim, AIA, testified on June 4th before the House Small Business Committee on the issue of SBA’s size standards.  Ron spoke in favor of a bill introduced this year by Representative Mike Bost (R-IL) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the Stronger Voice for Small Business Act (HR 1429), which would allow small firms to appeal size standards they see as unfair directly to the SBA rather than having to go through the costly federal courts.  Standards established by the SBA defines a “small business” and firms fitting that description are eligible for SBA loans and set-aside projects from the federal government.
  • Tax Reform: as the debate over tax reform continues, members of Congress are looking everywhere for possible ways to trim the tax code, including a number of provisions that directly benefit architecture firms.  An example of this is Section 179D-Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings (passed as part of HR 5771) which allows building owners and tenants who make expenditures to cause new or renovated commercial buildings to be more energy efficient will be eligible for a tax deduction up to $1.80 per square foot.  Currently this deduction expires annually but efforts are currently under way to introduce legislation that would make the deduction permanent.  That push is being led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).
  • Student Loan Forgiveness: Legislation was introduced last Congress as the National Design Services Act of 2014 by Rep. Earl Perlmutter (D-CO) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) that would provide some level of student loan forgiveness for architecture students who volunteer design services within their community. The program would mirror ones in the medical, legal, and even veterinarian professions.
  • Building Codes: Rep. Diaz-Balart (R-FL) recently reintroduced bill HR 1878- Safe Building Code Incentive Act incentivizing states to strengthen their building codes, mitigating the various negative impacts of disasters.
  • 2030: Both chambers of Congress are contemplating language to repeal the 2030 fossil fuel reduction targets for federal buildings as part of comprehensive energy legislation. AIA is working with allies to advocate against a repeal of the 2030 targets, a critical issue for the design industry.

I am happy to speak with any members that have any questions regarding the issues above and/or how members can get involved as “Architects in Action”.  Please visit the ArchiPAC website to become an advocate as well as to INVEST in ArchiPAC!ArchiPAC_Invest Sincerely, Justin A. Mihalik, AIA 2015 ArchiPAC Steering Committee Member

Faith Taylor Keynote at ECG2015

East Coast Green 2015
Creating A Culture of Sustainability

Keynote speaker for this years event is:

Faith Taylor is a senior global executive with progressive record of achievements and significant experience in strategic planning, development of new and existing businesses, innovation and change management, P&L and brand management as well as marketing.    Known as an expert in Corporate Responsibility, Innovation and Sustainability she has a broad experience to draw from.

She oversees the strategies and policies for Wyndham’s Worldwide corporate responsibility programs that includes, sustainability, philanthropy, diversity, wellness, human rights, responsible sourcing, ethics and governance.  She developed and started the Wyndham Green program in 2006 and has overseen the Company’s external reporting, strategic plans, auditing/assurance and branding initiatives. In 2014, the Wyndham Green program reduced its carbon and water by 20% and 18% globally and 27% of its $2.1 Billion supply chain has met their Green criteria.

Additionally, she is Chair of the Sustainability Working Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council and Chair of the Board of Directors of the USGBC of New Jersey. She is a member of the International Tourism Partnership organizations where she has participated in setting industry standards like the Hotel Carbon Metric Initiative and policies. Wyndham is a recognized corporate leader working with the Clinton Global Initiative and the Obama Better Building Challenge in setting leading programs for the built environment.

During the day long ECG event session topics have a wide range of options for all angles of building sustainable:
• Green Building Risks & Rewards
• Developing a Green Building Master Plan
• Renewable Energy
• Green Materials for LEEDv4 & LBC Compliance
• Designing & Commissioning High Performance Building Envelopes
• International Green Construction Code
• Update on the NJ Code  –  IBC in New Jersey

During the event the AIANJ Top Ten Green Projects will be announced.
Submit your project to be considered for inclusion.

See more by clicking here.

Still time to register.  Sign up to attend TODAY.

Need more AIA credits before the July license renewal deadline !!

Register today

Receive keynotes, multiple seminars, lunch, networking reception and

5 HSW AIA CEUs & LEEDap credential maintenance

Bike Rentals & Mountain Biking - Postcard - Large

Call for Entries – AIANJ COTE Top Ten Green Projects

Is your latest project Green?  AIANJ is looking for entries to be included in the AIANJ Top Ten Green Projects.

The Top Ten Green Projects Program recognizes projects that demonstrate the highest accomplishment in environmentally sustainable architecture, combining inspired design, systems analysis, and evaluation of performance.

Sustainability envisions the enduring prosperity of all living things.  Sustainable design seeks to create communities, buildings, and products that contribute to this vision.

Submit your project today – Click here, 
AIACoteGreenProjects1Submission Deadline :  June 8, 2015
All submissions to be electronic.  See website for submission guidelines.

The Top Ten Green Projects will be announced at the networking reception during East Coast Green.

Registration for East Coast Green open now

Registration open for East Coast Green 2015
Creating a Culture of Sustainability

June 17, 2015
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
at NJIT School of Architecture

AIA & USGBC Continuing Ed credits
Early Bird Deadline for registration June 1st

  

Last Day for Post Disaster Training “Early” Registrations

Sign-up for Post Disaster Assessment Training Today

Early Registration ends today – April 1st –
Registrations after April 1st will not include Training Manual (a $50 value)

April 11, 2015
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
at NJIT School of Architecture
6 AIA HSW CEU

Click here to Sign Up now !

2015 Disaster Training Promo II with background color

AIA New Jersey Creates Task Force on Lightweight Wood-Framed Construction

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TRENTON, N.J. (March 2015) — In the aftermath of the Avalon Edgewater Building Fire, the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has announced the formation of a task force of member architects to review possible improvements to design practices and building codes and standards in order to enhance building safety in New Jersey.

The Task Force will examine various issues specific to lightweight wood-framed buildings and make recommendations that, if implemented, could reduce property damage, provide additional time for people to reach safety, and allow the fire service more time to effectively address these emergencies.

Justin Mihalik, AIA

Justin Mihalik, AIA

Chaired by Justin A. Mihalik, AIA New Jersey President-elect, the AIA New Jersey Task Force will build upon its standard code advisory processes and conduct these additional meetings to review lightweight wood framing design issues and formulate recommendations to assist New Jersey policymakers in promulgating regulations that will make buildings of this type safer.

“Improving building safety through smarter design has always been a priority of architects,” said Justin A. Mihalik, AIA. “AIA-NJ is prepared to further assist public safety officials in this shared goal with the creation of this task force.”

The Task Force will make advisory recommendations on containment methods and use of lightweight wood-framed construction materials. These recommendations will be formulated into a written report to be presented to official agencies with the intent of improving building safety in the Garden State and around the country. Task force members will include David Del Vecchio, AIA, Robert M. Longo, AIA, Jason Lutz, AIA, William J. Martin, AIA and Yogish Mistry, AIA. The Task force is expected to complete this work in the coming months.

Support Historic Preservation Funding – Important Deadline March 18th

AIA Members –

Please ask your Member of Congress to support historic preservation funding. Historic preservation programming on the state and federal level relies on annual funding appropriated by Congress to continue to run – we need your help TODAY to make sure that happens. Please ask your Member of Congress to sign on to the historic preservation funding letter.  We need to act fast – the deadline for legislators to sign this letter is Wednesday, March 18.

These core historic preservation programs help stimulate private investment, spur economic growth and create jobs while revitalizing our communities and protecting the nation’s cultural heritage.  The letter for the funding request would provide grants to preserve and protect vital pieces of America’s cultural heritage such as historic civil rights sites and historically black colleges and universities, preserving them for future generations.

Without continued funding by Congress, the offices that administer the Historic Tax Credit and other key historic preservation programs could close, leaving citizens without the needed tools to revitalize, rehabilitate, and protect the places that give meaning to America.

Please act today.

Help protect these programs for the future by telling your Member of Congress that we need their help now and that they should sign the letter by Wednesday, March 18 to make their voice heard!

TAKE ACTION NOW

 

 

Lightweight Construction Materials – the Public’s Perception

Mihalick_2014Submitted by Justin A. Mihalik, AIA 
2015 AIANJ President-Elect

As a result of the AvalonBay fire in Edgewater, I was interviewed by PIX 11 news and Al Jazeera America as a representative of AIANJ, for the Architect’s perspective on lightweight wood construction materials.  Architects understand that the building code takes into consideration the use group of a building as well as the construction type of materials in order to determine how then to protect the materials being used in order to meet a minimum standard and to be considered “safe”.  But what is the public’s perception of “safe”?  After all, as Architects, it is our responsibility to design “safe” buildings.  In watching many Youtube videos and reading white papers on the subject of lightweight construction as I prepared for the interview, I found that the public’s perception of engineered lightweight materials, mainly wood I-joists, is that they are “cheap”.

 

There are a few reasons for this that I can understand from a lay person’s perspective.  One being that the material used for the web of the I-joist, which is oriented strand board or OSB, appears to be a cheap wafer board.  A second one is that after a fire, not much of a structure built with these materials is still standing.  Being interviewed at the AvalonBay site, it did not take an experienced eye to see that the stair towers and elevator shafts that were constructed of masonry concrete block were the only structures standing amongst a sea of wood debris.  It was clear to the eye that the masonry concrete block was far superior to the wood because it had survived the fire.

Architects also understand that the building code does not require the building to fully withstand a fire but only that it withstands the fire long enough for its occupants to escape in a safe manner.  The public does not understand that this is in fact the way the building code works.  It is up to the Architect and the owner of the building to design it in such a way that it potentially can withstand a fire and the effects of fighting the fire in order to minimize the reconstruction.  So is the public wrong for having the perception that engineered lightweight wood materials are cheap?  Or is it the industry’s fault for allowing this perception to exist?

There is one other party that should be involved in this conversation and that is the insurance industry since they are making the payouts on policies to then reconstruct these buildings.  Fortunately, no lives were lost in the AvalonBay fire.  So do we then believe that the building code was sufficient?

Any Architect that has been involved in repairing/reconstructing a building after a fire understands that it is a liability nightmare and that the best approach for the owner is to rebuild the structure.  Rebuilding instead of repairing should not be a problem since the insurance policy covers for the “replacement value”.  Well, anyone who has worked on a fire job also knows that the term “replacement value” is vague and does not guarantee that this “value” will in fact cover the full cost of the reconstruction.  A question for Architects to consider is the following: how sustainable or resilient are the current practices in constructing single or multi-family buildings if they cannot withstand a fire?

Recently legislation was proposed by Republican Assemblyman Scott T. Rumana, bill A4195 (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A4500/4195_I1.HTM), and if approved it would impose a two year moratorium on the use of lightweight construction materials in multi-family buildings.  The proposed bill not only includes engineered wood, but also traditional nominal wood and steel bar joists.  If approved, this bill would be devastating to the construction industry and would affect not only job creation, the housing market, but also architectural firms.  Safety is ultimately the most important issue when it comes to buildings.  Does this bill take this too far?

Redevelopment Forum on March 13

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New Jersey Future’s Redevelopment Forum is a daylong conference that brings together more than 500 municipal and state leaders and leading professionals in planning, development, law, transportation, architecture, construction, environmental conservation and historic preservation to share best practices and lessons learned.  We have applied for and expect to receive AIA, AICP, CLE and GBCI continuing education credits
Tickets are $110 for New Jersey Future members, municipal employees and non-profits  and $150 for non-members until February 20 (after February 20 tickets are $155 for members and $190 for non-members).
Questions: contact Marianne Jann at 609-393-0008, ext. 101.

AIA New Jersey Interviewed by WPIX TV Regarding Lightweight Wood Construction

edgewater-fire-chopper-2In the wake of the tragic events of the Avalon at Edgewater fire, Justin Mihalik, AIA, the newly elected President-Elect of the New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was recently interviewed by WPIX TV regarding the use of lightweight wood construction.  You can see the WPIX report here. The report is 5:26 in length.  Justin’s comments start at approximately the 1:59 mark and run through the 3:00 mark.

Granted, the conversation is far more complex than can be explained in one minute of TV time. And, the issue has received significant attention, including legislation proposing mandating fire sprinklers in all residential construction (Bill A1698) and a proposed two-year moratorium on all lightweight wood construction. Given the severity of the event and the public attention, it is more important than ever that architects and AIA New Jersey have a voice in this discussion.

This issue is being actively addressed by our Codes & Standards Committee, chaired by Robert Longo, AIA, our Legistative & Government Affairs Committee, chaired by David Del Vecchio, AIA, our Public Awareness Committee, chaired by Bruce Turner, AIA, our President, Kimberly Bunn, AIA, our Executive Director, Joe Simonetta, and the Executive Committee. Therefore, please make sure you share your opinions with your leaders of AIA New Jersey and your political representatives. Architects cannot stand on the sidelines while others determine the shape of the built environment.

Bruce Turner, AIA
Public Awareness Committee Chair

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