Category Archives: Legislative & Government Affairs

Regulations or issues that affect the practice of architecture in NJ.

2014 Design Conference – Save the Date

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October 9, 2014
Design Conference and Advocacy Day
The Trenton War Memorial

The 2014 Conference will be a full day of continuing education and advocacy.   The announcement of the Design Award winners and networking opportunities at evening reception.
Full Day -  6 LUs. (pending approval)

Watch the AIA-NJ website for more details as they become available

Please Contact Laura Slomka
Email or Call 609-393-5690

USGBC-NJ Hosts Senator Norcross Networking Event

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USGBC NJ Chapter
South Branch Presents
SENATOR DONALD NORCROSS
PRESENTATION & NETWORKING DINNER
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
5:00 – 8:00 PM
Wyndham Philadelphia – Mount Laurel

Come out and enjoy a night of networking and socializing with others in green building & advocacy related fields. Senator Norcross will discuss the topics of economic development, green building, and school construction, particularly in South Jersey.

REGISTER HERE


Senator Donald Norcross (D),
Legislative District 5:
Committees: Law and Public Safety, Chair, Military and Veterans’ Affairs Transportation. Senator Donald Norcross was sworn to the Senate on January 19, 2010. The Senator has been an advocate for the working men and women of New Jersey. He also championed efforts to expand and diversify the workforce through the recruitment and hiring of women and minorities. As a legislator, he is working to reduce the costs of government and to bring property taxes under control. He also promotes reform movements within government spending, ethics, and accountability. He is dedicated to creating public-private partnerships and other initiatives to spur economic development, revitalize neighborhoods, and rejuvenate the downtown business districts within Camden.CLICK HERE for full bio.

THANK YOU TO OUR EVENT SPONSORS:

            

SCHEDULE:
• 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm sign-in, networking & drinks (cash bar)
• 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm buffet dinner and networking
• 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm speaker Senator Norcross (includes Q&A)
COST TO ATTEND:
Members/ Non-members & Students/ Emerging Professionals: $25
(Click here to register)
LOCATION: Wyndham Philadelphia – Mount Laurel
1111 Route 73 North, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

NJ-APAC on Capital Hill

 

New Jersey Political Action Committee (NJ-APAC)
LOBBIES ON CAPITOL HILL at the
AIA GRASSROOTS 2014 – LEADERSHIP AND LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE

by Laurence E. Parisi, AIA Washington, D.C.
March 19, 2014

grassroots2014Another fabulous AIA Grassroots Leadership Conference has graced us, but not without extraordinary excitement, great colleague camaraderie, and well-organized Leadership Plenary Sessions.

NJ-APAC – The political branch of AIA-NJ was represented at “the hill” by Ben Lee, AIA and I, together we attended the Government Advocacy Networking Breakfast and Congressional Staff Panel who discussed the purpose and the criteria for Capitol Hill Visits. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet your Congressional District representative on their “D.C. turf” and present to them the issues set forth by the Institute and request their support. These issues are established by the Institute to help promote and support architects and building growth in our country. This year we had three requests for our congressional and senatorial backing.

  1. ENERGY RETROFITS – The AIA supports efforts to extend and make modest improvements to the Energy-Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction (179D).
  2. STUDENT DEBT RELIEF – The AIA supports legislation to allow architecture students to contribute their design abilities to help communities in exchange for student loan assistance.
  3. DESIGN BUILD PROCUREMENT REFORM – The AIA supports common-sense reforms to procurement that will help more design firms enter the marketplace.

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Grassroots 2014 – Connect, Engage, Lead, Innovate

The AIA 2014 Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference was held March 18th – 21st in Washington DC.  A number of your AIA-NJ leaders attended and were inspired to  build a better AIA.

2014Grassroots

Some of the AIA-NJ members in attendance at Grassroots 2014

 

Along with hundreds of leaders from around the country and world AIA members discussed ways to effect change.  From the latest on AIA Repositioning  and how it could be seen in your local AIA chapters, to hearing from candidates for national AIA offices that will help to lead AIA next year and beyond.

In addition to seminars and guest speakers, part of Thursday was spent visiting our legislators on Capital Hill.  Taking issues important to all architects to our law-makers to effect change for all.

This year a number of items discussed were  discussed with local representatives.  Including the extension of 179D, the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction that expired at the end of 2013.  The necessity of procurement standards for Design-Build method of building on government projects.  Also, the National Design Services Act,  a program where architecture graduates with federally subsidized student loans could work in under-served communities in exchange for reduction of student debt.  Contact your local leaders to learn more on any of these items or how you can help.

AIANJ Menendez

AIA-NJ President Kurt Kalafsky, President-Elect Kimberly Bunn, Aide to Senator Menendez, L&GA Chair Dave DelVecchio, and Regional Director Robert Cozzarelli on Capital Hill

 

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Jerome Eben from AIA-NJ a candidate for AIA national position of Secretary

During the candidates speeches, AIA-NJ member and past-president Jerome Eben, AIA, declared his candidacy for the office of AIA National Secretary.  We wish Jerry Good Luck in his run for office.

BILL TO HELP IMPROVE RESPONSE TO THE NEXT SUPERSTORM SANDY RELEASED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

njleg2_txtGREENWALD, MORIARTY & CHIVUKULA BILL TO HELP IMPROVE RESPONSE TO THE NEXT SUPERSTORM SANDY RELEASED BY ASSEMBLY PANEL

(TRENTON) – An Assembly panel on Monday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula to improve the state’s ability to respond to large-scale natural disasters.

“Whether it is tornadoes in Alabama, earthquakes in California or hurricanes in New Jersey, Good Samaritan laws are critical in ensuring a safe, effective and speedy response to major natural disasters,” said Greenwald (D-Camden / Burlington). “By passing a Good Samaritan law in New Jersey, we will better prepare our state to respond rapidly and efficiently to the next Superstorm Sandy.”

The bill (A2025) would bolster safety inspection capacity in the aftermath of disasters like Sandy – the scale of which can easily overwhelm local governments – by shielding licensed architects and professional engineers from liability when they volunteer to help local governments respond to major natural disasters.
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PRACTICING ARCHITECTURE WITHOUT A LICENSE – DON’T LET IT HAPPEN

AIA-NJThis is a reissue of the original article from 2011.  There has been great success as of recent against parties who were practicing architecture illegally.  If you know of someone who is practicing illegally, please file a complaint!  Read below to understand the process.

AIANJ members have been contacting the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee lately regarding illegal or unlicensed practice, including the offering or providing architectural services by unlicensed practitioners and the practice of “plan stamping” i.e. licensed architects signing and sealing drawings produced by those without a license with little or no direct supervisory control over their production. They often ask, “What is the AIA doing about this?”

As a professional organization, it is AIANJ’s role to inform its members about our successful lobbying effort on behalf of its members as well as for non-members for the ability of the State Board of Architects to investigate the illegal and unlicensed practice of architecture.

Members are the eyes and ears of the AIA. It is every architect’s legal responsibility to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public by reporting potential instances of illegal and unlicensed practice to the State Board. The State Board cannot proactively investigate alleged cases of misconduct, but rather must rely on members of the public (and especially the licensed professionals it regulates) to file complaints when they become aware of a violation of the regulations.

Therefore, it is important that we all understand how to properly file a complaint with the State Board of Architects against someone who may be illegally practicing architecture.  The first step is to understand what constitutes the illegal practice of architecture by reviewing the New Jersey State Board of Architects Law and Regulations, which can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/oag/ca/arch/arch_rules.htm.  The description of the practice of architecture may be found under Article 45:3-10 of the Architects Law, “Practice of Architecture; what constitutes; exceptions”.

The next step is to download the complaint form, which can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/oag/ca/complaint/archcom.pdf.  Once you download the form, read it carefully and follow the instructions.  Provide as much information as possible including any evidence that you may have that supports your complaint.  Include any written documentation you come across including letterhead, business cards, mailers, magazine ads, print outs from a violator’s website, or any statement they make that uses the term “architect”, “architecture” or “architectural” without including a bona fide license number of a registered architect.

You may submit a claim anonymously but it must be in writing.  However, if additional information is required by the Board to process the complaint, an anonymous complainant will not be able to respond to the request.  Therefore, if you want the complaint to have the best possible chance of being enforced it is recommended that you include your contact information on the complaint.  Please be aware that the investigation process may take several months before the Board renders a decision, since the Board needs to follow certain guidelines in making notifications to the alleged violator in accordance with state laws.

Once a decision is rendered, it will be posted on the State Board’s website under “Board Actions”. We ask that you follow through with each complaint and notify our committee of any actions taken by the Board so that we may publish the results of your efforts. If the Board does in fact find that someone is practicing illegally or without a license, the actions may be a warning, suspension, fines, or removal of license.

AIA New Jersey is the only credible voice speaking on behalf of the architectural profession here in our state.  But we need your help filing these complaints. Architects are the only people who can really police this industry and ensure that the public receives the best possible services and protection. Rest assured that members of the L&GA committee do actually file complaints as individuals on a regular basis.  But as a volunteer organization, we simply do not have the time and resources to proactively search out all the instances of illegal practice across the state.

The only way to deter those who practice illegally is by hitting them where it hurts the most, in their wallets!  So please, protect your livelihood while protecting New Jersey’s citizens by filing a complaint if you suspect that someone is practicing illegally!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee at lga@aia-nj.org.

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA,  Licensure Subcommittee Chairperson

David DelVecchio, AIA,  Legislative & Government Affairs Committee, Chairperson

Update – NJ Good Samaritan Legislation

red_eagleDear Member,Late last night, the New Jersey Legislature gave final approval to what is commonly known as ‘Good Samaritan’ legislation. The bills, Assembly Bill 3694 and Senate Bill 3131 are now on the desk of Governor Christie for action.

Please call the Governor’s Office today to voice your support for the ‘Good Samaritan’ bill at (609) 292-6000. Tell his office that you are a constituent, a voter, and supporter of A3694 and S3131.

You can also email the Governor’s Office by submitting this form on the Governor’s webpage.

THE GOVERNOR HAS TO ACT WITHIN 10 DAYS. IT IS URGENT THAT YOU CONTACT THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE TODAY

The following statement from the Senate Budget Committee explains the bill and its benefits to the state.The Senate Budget and Appropriations committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 3131.

This bill grants public employee status to licensed architects and professional engineers for certain services rendered during and following emergencies without compensation and at the request of public officials.

This “Good Samaritan” legislation provides immunity in accordance with procedures established under the “Tort Claims Act” for the licensed architects and professional engineers who volunteer time, expertise, and services to help rebuild communities that have been damaged by disasters, such as hurricanes, fires, and, tornados.

The bill provides licensed architects and professional engineers with public employee status pursuant to the Tort Claims Act and they shall not be personally liable for any personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss caused by an act, error, or omission while practicing architecture or engineering following an emergency.  In order for the public employee status to apply, the practice of architecture or engineering must be performed:

(1)  voluntarily and without compensation;

(2)  at the request of a public safety official, acting in an official capacity; and

(3)  at the scene of a declared national or State emergency caused by a major earthquake, hurricane, tornado, fire, explosion, collapse, or similar disaster or catastrophic event, during or within 90 days following the emergency, or for any extended period as determined by executive order issued by the Governor under the Governor’s emergency executive powers.

As used in the bill, “public safety official” means any appointed or elected federal, State, or local official with executive responsibility to coordinate public safety or law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which the emergency has occurred.

In addition, the public employee status and immunity will not apply, if:

(1) the architect or professional engineer, or a private entity for which the architect or engineer is employed, has an existing contract for services with the public entity, other than the State of New Jersey, whose public safety officer made the request for architectural or engineering services;

(2) the architect or professional engineer, or a private entity for which the architect or engineer is employed, enters into any contract for services that involves the performance of any additional architectural or engineering services related to the voluntary, uncompensated services performed for the public entity whose public safety officer made the request for architectural or engineering services; and

(3) the act or omission by the architect or engineer does not require the public entity to defend and indemnify a public employee pursuant to N.J.S.59:10-1 or N.J.S.59:10-2.

As reported, this bill is identical to Assembly Bill No. 3694 (1R), as also reported by the committee on this date.

Update on NJ Good Samaritan Legislation

red_eagleThe Good Samaritan legislation that AIA-NJ has been working towards is scheduled for a hearing in the New Jersey Senate for Monday morning, January 13, 2014.  Please call or email your local NJ representatives to urge them to support and vote YES for A3694.

For more information see the October announcement on the bill:

http://blog.aia-nj.org/2013/10/28/proposed_good_sam/

President’s Message – October 2013

Purvis_2013When I first started working my way up through the officers ranks, I thought the presidency would be an easy position to hold.  You know kiss a couple of babies, cut some ribbons, easy stuff.  It is not true. This has been one of the busiest years of my life and one of the more fulfilling.  I have had the benefit of a great Executive Committee, Committee Chairs and Board of Trustees. These are the members who volunteer their time and set the agenda and direction of AIA-NJ.   It is hard work by a dedicated few.   The AIA is like the factory in the industrial park that always has the help wanted sign out front. There is always a need for our members to join committees or become officers at the section and state level. I know Kurt Kalafsky is working on his committees for next year, if there is an interest I am sure we can find a position for you.

At the Board Meeting of September the following was reviewed.

  • AIA-NJ has been working on a Good Samaritan Bill. This will allow AIA member who want to act as first responders in case of a disaster to be provided with liability insurance similar to that provided to the police. Joe Simonetta, Larry Powers and Larry Parisi, Home Land Security Chairman has been working on behalf of the AIA to get the bill through the state legislature. The will be a press release on October 29 in one of the Towns that is still being rebuild.
  • AIA-NJ Website has been undergoing rebuilding as directed by Kim Bunn and Jason Peist. A new consult is in the process of redesigning the web site and making more users friendly. It will be completed this month.
  • AIA Repositioning is something that the AIA National is in the process of doing. This is a process to restructure the AIA National to be beneficial to all of its members.  If you have gone to a current meeting you should have had a chance to choose the items that you feel will help the member make better use of their membership. Kurt Kalafsky is the chairman of this committee and making it an important part of his presidency next year.
  • Jason Peist the Associate Regional Director has been working with the State Board of Architect to get a bill past to allow Architect Interns to start taking ARE exam prior to completing their three years of internship. He is also setting study groups for the ARE.
  • The Historical Preservation Office of NJ has asked AIA-NJ to develop guidelines for raising historic structures in the new flood zones. Mike Calafati is in the progress of developing a committee to create the standards. He will be looking for members who are now work on project to get their input.

This is just a small part of what the AIA-NJ is currently working on.  Education Committee,  CANstruction, Small Firm Round Table, L&GA, NJIT Center for Resiliency,  Diversity,  Women in Architecture, Post Sandy Regional Workshop and Membership are ongoing committees.

So the next time someone asks what is the AIA doing for me, this is just a small sampling.

The AIA-NJ will be having our Design Day Conference this week. Offering continuing education classes, world class key note speakers, design competition entries, and service award winners announced. This is the high light of our profession in New Jersey. I hope to see everyone there.

Jack Purvis, AIA

2013 AIA New Jersey President

Governor Christie Release on Regulations for Rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy

 

2013_01_24 Sandy

 

Governor Christie Outlines Regulations to Allow Residents and Businesses to Rebuild Faster, Stronger and Safer from Hurricane Sandy

Standards Will Ensure Lower Premiums In The Long Term, Protecting Residents From Out Of Control Costs

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For Immediate Release
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trenton, NJ - Taking action to give New Jersey families, businesses and local governments the best available guidance to quickly and more durably rebuild from Hurricane Sandy, Governor Chris Christie today signed emergency regulations to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) updated Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFEs) maps as the rebuilding standard for the entire state. These regulations establish requirements and more efficient procedures for residents and businesses to construct, reconstruct, relocate and elevate buildings and other structures in flood hazard areas.

Using the best available science and data as reflected in these advisory maps will give families, businesses, and communities the best assessment of their risk – allowing them to better mitigate damage from future flood events, avoid higher flood insurance costs, and begin the rebuilding process immediately. Because of federal reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program to move towards increased flood insurance rates that reflect actual risk, families who rebuild their properties in a manner that does not conform to updated base flood elevations will see significant premium increases.

By acting today to use the latest available information and data from FEMA to set rebuilding standards for New Jersey, Governor Christie is helping homeowners and small businesses rebuild properties that are less at-risk, while also helping them avoid potentially massive, out-of-control flood insurance costs over the long-run.

While each property and rebuilding situation is unique, an example provided by FEMA illustrates the dramatic impact new standards can have on flood insurance rates, in addition to the issues of increasing the risk to the safety of the property and its inhabitants. If a property owner is currently in an “A zone” at 4 feet below the BFE elevation and are reclassified as a higher threat “V zone” and take no action, that property will be rated at a higher risk and be subject to an approximate annual premium (phased in) of up to $31,000. In addition to the threat posed by being 4 feet below the BFE in elevation, the property owner will be non-compliant with V zone construction standards.

In contrast, if the owner were to rebuild to the suggested BFE and appropriate construction standards, the annual premium (phased in) would be approximately $7,000. If the resident rebuilds 2 feet above the BFE with the construction standards for their new zone, the annual premium would be approximately $3,500. A savings of up to $27,500 annually.

“It is absolutely critical that we take this opportunity to rebuild New Jersey smarter and stronger in the aftermath of Sandy. That’s why today I am approving emergency regulations being proposed by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to help fast-track the rebuilding process,” said Governor Christie. “By doing so, we’re helping residents and businesses who have endured so much, to get back on their feet while at the same time ensuring that rebuilding occurs as quickly as possible, without costly red tape slowing this process down for our families and small businesses. As New Jersey recovers from Sandy, utilizing the best available data provided in these FEMA maps will give our communities the ability to rebuild with the least possible risk from future storms moving forward.”

With over 8.4 million residents in its 8,721 square mile area and approximately 3.8 million residents in flood hazard areas, without swift and immediate action, the state is presented with a risk of continued severe impacts during the next flood event.

The DEP is adopting an emergency rule with common-sense provisions for rebuilding stronger structures, more quickly:

  1. Adopts the height and construction requirements in FEMA’s Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) maps as a state standard for reconstruction. The ABFEs reflect the best available, most current scientific data about 100-year floods.

2.      Allows property owners who rebuild to the ABFEs (plus one additional foot, as has been required by the New Jersey Flood Hazard Area Control Act since 2007) to do so via Permit By Rule (PBR). This eliminates the need for thousands of property owners to apply for DEP’s Flood Hazard Area permits, saving them at least $500 in permit fees plus the design and engineering costs associated with an application, and allowing them to begin reconstruction without waiting for department review as part of the rebuilding process.

  1. Allows “wet floodproofing” for non-residential buildings. Wet floodproofing means that a building may flood but will structurally withstand the water, and enables reconstruction in urban areas in a safe and less costly manner than requiring elevations or dry floodproofing. This is especially important in highly developed areas like Hoboken or Jersey City. Without this change, residents and small businesses would have to comply with the existing rules, which could significantly drive up costs and make some redevelopment impossible.
  2. Eliminates requirements that now allow certain building foundations to have only three walls –a potentially unsafe construction method.

By adopting the ABFEs as the state standard immediately, the state will ensure that coastal communities are reconstructed using the best elevation guidance that is available, preventing the level of damage experienced in Sandy. The emergency rules also bolster DEP construction requirements to make structures more storm-resilient, to prevent the level of destruction caused by Sandy.

“Unfortunately many of the structures that were hardest hit by Sandy were built decades ago, prior to the establishment of much more protective state and federal building elevation requirements,” said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. “If homes had been built to these standards prior to Sandy, it is fair to say that property damage would have been significantly less. It is critical that we have the statewide elevation standard and a permit by rule process in place before large numbers of permit applications for rebuilding start coming in and reconstruction of our state begins in full force.”

In many cases, FEMA flood maps for coastal areas of New Jersey were more than two decades old and did not reflect real hazards. FEMA was in the process of updating the flood insurance maps, upon which the ABFEs are based, when Sandy struck. The agency released the ABFEs December 15, 2012  for some 200 communities affected by tidal waters.

The maps use modern technology, modeling and updated topographical maps to better define storm risks. They are designed to help state and local governments employ mitigation actions that ensure structures are rebuilt stronger, safer, and less vulnerable to future flooding events.

Adoption of the emergency Flood Hazard Area Act rule using the ABFEs as the base elevation standard will ensure that every development in every municipality will apply the appropriate elevation standards across the board.

Otherwise municipalities might adopt a patchwork of local standards that might be implemented while FEMA works to finalize the flood maps based on the new ABFEs. This process could take many months and cause significant delays as New Jersey recovers from its worst-ever natural disaster.

The rule will become effective immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law.

Copies of the emergency rules and the DEP statement of imminent peril are attached to the release.

For more on ABFEs, visit: http://www.region2coastal.com/sandy/abfe

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www.nj.gov/governor/

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