Category Archives: Legislative & Government Affairs

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

National Design Services Act Re-introduced in Congress

red_eagleAs of June 25, 2015, the National Design Services Act has been re-introduced by Representative Ed Perlmutter (CO-7). This program would authorize student loan debt relief for architectural school graduates who provide volunteer services to communities in need through nonprofit community design centers. Help secure the future of your profession by asking your member of Congress to co-sponsor this vital legislation today!

Emerging architectural professionals currently face some of the highest student debt loads when compared with graduates in other fields. Beyond tuition, additional costs unique to architecture, such as modeling materials, technical books, and specialized software only add to the burden. In order for the profession of architecture to remain relevant, we need to ensure that our emerging professionals have every opportunity to gain experience, pay down their debt, and find rewarding work in the architectural field.

This program would reduce the burden of debt on emerging architectural professionals while bringing quality design within reach for underprivileged communities. Contact your member of Congress NOW and ask him or her to co-sponsor the National Design Services Act!

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

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

Reciprocity With Canada

Grassroots 2009In his recent trip to Canada, Governor Christie said “I’ve gotten the impression over time, watching American foreign policy, that Canada has been an afterthought……I don’t think we pay enough attention to this relationship as Americans in general. I’ve made a very conscious decision to come to Canada and to come here to Alberta because we should treat our friends with both respect and attention.”

This statement comes on the heels of a recent tri-national agreement by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), Canadian Licensing Authorities (CALA), and the Federacion de Colegios de Architectos de la Republica Mexicana (FCARM), making it possible for architects to work across North American boarders.

With all of this in mind, it is time for the State of New Jersey to take specific action to address New Jersey’s relationship Canada relative to the practice of architecture. Specifically, the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects renews its call for the State of New Jersey to resolve impediments to cross border licensure with Canada, and stands ready and willing to work with all relevant parties to find a workable solution for New Jersey.

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.

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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

 

Eben_for_secretary

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 [email protected].

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA,  Licensure Subcommittee Chairperson

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

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