Category Archives: Legislative & Government Affairs

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

AIA NJ supports the passing of Senate Bill-3317

On June 26, 2017, NJ Senate passed S-3317 to require NJ to Join Climate Alliance to uphold Paris Climate Accord. AIA NJ supports the passing of this Senate Bill.

Along with AIA National, AIA NJ stands for a sustainable future and for protecting communities from the impact of climate change. 

Climate change caused by human activity remains one of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases already are causing rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and degradation of natural resources. These trends are projected to continue and possibly accelerate, posing significant risks to national security, human health, food supply, global economies, and natural ecosystems; many of these result in refugee crises.

The AIA recognizes that current planning, design, construction, and real
estate practices contribute to patterns of resource consumption that will inhibit
the sustainable future of the Earth. Architects, as the leaders in design of the
built environment, are responsible to act as stewards of the Earth.
Consequently, we encourage communities to join with us in changing the
course of the planet’s future by supporting governmental and private sector
policy programs, including the development, evaluation, and use of codes,
standards and evidence-based rating systems, that promote the design,
preservation, and construction of sustainable communities and highperformance
buildings.

It is in this spirit that AIA NJ supports the passing of Senate Bill-3317 and we are looking forward to supporting the passing of coordinating Assembly Bill-5040.

SENATE, No. 3317

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED JUNE 15, 2017

 

Sponsored by:

Senator  BOB SMITH, District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)

Senator  LINDA R. GREENSTEIN, District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

 

SYNOPSIS:      Requires NJ to join U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold Paris Climate Accord.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT:      As introduced.

An Act requiring New Jersey to join the United States Climate Alliance, and supplementing Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

  1. The State shall join the United States Climate Alliance and uphold the Paris Climate Accord, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and address the threats posed by climate change in accordance with the goals established therefor by the alliance.

 

  1. This act shall take effect immediately.

 

STATEMENT

This bill would require New Jersey to join the United States Climate Alliance, a group formed to pursue policies to uphold the United States’ commitments to the Paris Climate Accord in order to address the threats posed by climate change.  The group was formed by the Governors of California, New York, and Washington after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

The Paris Climate Accord, joined by 195 countries, sets forth a five-year goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature below 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels and aims to limit the increase in average global temperature to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.  The signatories to the agreement also pledge to undertake rapid reductions in greenhouse gases thereafter in accordance with best available science. Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans.  Since the formation of the U.S. Climate Alliance, the Governors of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, as well as the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Mayor of the District of Columbia joined the alliance.  Hundreds of mayors, business leaders, and university presidents have committed to honor the goals of the Paris agreement as well.  The United States Climate Alliance is committed to upholding the Paris Climate Accord and reducing greenhouse gases in order to address the threats posed by climate change.

Current member states of the U.S. Climate Alliance comprise 36 percent of the United States population and over 30 percent of the United States gross domestic product.  The United States’ goal under the Paris Climate Accord was to reduce national emissions by 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

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.

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.

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

AIA Call For Issues Survey

AIA-NJThe AIA biennial Call for Issues for our federal agenda is currently open, and we are hoping to get as wide participation as possible. This is a chance for all members to weigh in on what issues they want the AIA to bring to Congress in 2017.

This is something that has been done for almost 10 years, and it is perhaps as important as ever to give members the chance to speak out on the AIA’s agenda. This Call for Issues will also appear in AIA Architect, but we wanted to share the survey and the message below directly with our AIA New Jersey stakeholder group.


In a few weeks, a new Congress will take their seats on Capitol Hill and begin debating issues that affect all of us. It’s critical that lawmakers hear from architects and that you be involved in those discussions that affect our profession.

That’s why the AIA has launched its biennial Call for Issues. Through this survey, you can inform the AIA about where you stand on the major issues for architects. Your feedback helps us to prioritize the policies and issues that we will advocate on before Congress and the White House for the next two years. Essentially, your responses shape the AIA’s advocacy agenda.

In the past, your responses to the Call for Issues have led the AIA to advocate for sustainable design policies, financial incentives for healthier and more resilient communities, and policies that reduce unnecessary red tape on architecture firms. Your voice has made the difference.

Make sure your voice is heard: take the Call for Issues survey by December 16, and please feel free to share with other AIA members. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the AIA’s Government Relations and Advocacy team at [email protected].

WIA Lecture Series: Women and Democracy

WIA Final LogoPlease Join Us – All Welcome

A NIGHT OF NETWORKING, LIGHT HORS’DOEUVRES, REFRESHMENTS AND DISCUSSIONS WITH FELLOW WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY

Speakers:
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi

When:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2016

6:00PM TO 9PM

Where:

MWW GROUP | 1 MEADOWLANDS PLAZA EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ 07073

RSVP by SEPTEMBER 21

to Kim Vierheilig at [email protected]
AIA Members: No Charge | Non-AIA Members: $20 (at door) 1.0 CEU Pending Approval

THANKS to our Sponsor
Pella-Windows-e1427296056817

 

WIAspeakers_9_16

President’s Message -Illegal Practice

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

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

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

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

Justin_sig

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA

AIA New Jersey 2016 President

What Architects Need to Know About Responsible Charge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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