Category Archives: Practice Management

DCA Hosts Webinar on ePlans in December


dca_njThe New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) has launched ePlans, a new web-based electronic plan review system, which eliminates paper-based building and code review processes and reduces the amount of time between plan submission and final approval.

We invite you to attend an informational webinar to learn more about ePlans and how you can benefit from using the new system. The webinar is being offered from 10-11 a.m. on December 10, 2015.


ePlans provides a number of benefits and cost-saving measures for both the building community and the Department including:


  • 24-hour access to the system from any computer
  • Elimination of the need for paper plans to be manually printed and delivered
  • Reduced printing costs
  • Transparency and auditability
  • Reduced turn-around time to review plans


ePlans will be extended to all State building projects that require plans from a licensed architect or engineer.   The Department will require mandatory usage of the ePlans system by December 31, 2015.  When a citizen (architect, engineer, contractor, owner) submits an application for a construction or land use permit requiring drawing plans and other documents, the Bureau of Construction Project Review will use ePlans to complete the initial review. Required changes are noted on the files and then communicated to the applicant, who can re-submit corrected plans electronically, 24/7, from the convenience of any computer. The review cycle continues until all the regulatory requirements are satisfied and the DCA grants approval for the plans.


For more information about accessing DCA’s ePlans system, or to register for the upcoming ePlans webinar, visit:


Click here to download a digital version of the ePlans brochure.


Please feel free to share this invitation with your colleagues.

NJIT Career Development Spring 2016 Career Fair

njit_career_fairWed. February 24, 2016 Career, Co-op, Internship and Summer Job Fair

The career fair is held 12:30 to 4:30 pm.  Over 190 organizations attend and 2,600 job seekers regularly attend NJIT fairs.

The registration fee is $650 but AIAS member firms under 10 employees will receive a 50% discount.  Be sure to list AIA after your name in contact field when registering.

Goto to register.

Call 973.596.3100 and ask to speak to an Employer Team member if questions.


Presidents Message – Fall 2015

2015 has been flying by, as I talk with AIANJ members around the state there are often comments regarding how fast the year has gone, or that we can’t believe it is October.  The good news is, most of our offices are busy with work.  Our firms might not be back to pre-recession levels however most firms have an even workload level, this is promising news.

WJ_SJSimilarly, AIANJ and the  local sections have been very busy.  I have been trying to visit the different sections this fall.  Thank You to AIA South Jersey and AIA West Jersey for hosting an informative joint meeting the end of September in Hammonton with AIA partner Houzz.   It was a nice evening of networking and learning how to market our firms online.

IMG_3250IMG_3248In September and October I represented AIA NJ in both the South Jersey Food Bank’s Inaugural Canstruction event at Cherry Hill Mall and AIA Newark and Suburban’s Annual Canstruction event at the Livingston Mall.

All of the entries were so creative and the Food Banks received tons of much needed canned food donations.   The entries are still available for view at Livingston Mall, if you in the area stop by to see the creations.

At the end of this week, AIANJ’s major event of the year will be happening at Hanover Marriott.  The agenda that the committee has organized has something to offer in all areas, from the business of architecture to keynote for associates.    I hope many of you will come take part in this event.

Thanks to all the sponsors who have made this event possible and to the committee who has worked so hard to guide this event forward for all of us at AIANJ.

On Friday evening, October 23rd, there will be a Awards Reception to celebrate architecture in New Jersey.  The Design Awards entries will be on display to showcase the work of NJ architecture and architects.  The reception will end with the announcement of the Design Awards Winners and the years AIANJ Service Award winners.  This year the AIA Newark & Suburban Canstruction committee will also announce the 2015 Canstruction competition winners.

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It’s Not to Late – AIANJ State Convention Friday

AIANJ State Convention10294375_10207117190420610_1436748785745090811_n

Friday & Saturday, October 23-24, 2015
Hanover Marriott, Whippany, NJ

It’s not to late to attend, the two day event starts this Friday.

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WORKING WITH THE MEDIA – Delivering your Message in an Interview

AIA-NJIn our year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below is the fourth in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects, architecture and AIA-NJ.

Previously, the Working with the Media series has focused on the initial stages of media outreach: Building a relationship, contacting a reporter, and composing written materials on behalf of you or your company. Now, we’ll delve into the hallmark of journalism (and arguably the most important method for successful PR): The interview.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that news is increasingly “sound-bite” driven. Today’s messages are most effectively delivered through short, to-the-point bits of information – Twitter, “news reader” software, and blog-style news are all evidence of the evolution (or disappearance) of long-form feature stories. But, rather than debating the legitimacy of this age of information, let’s discuss how best to communicate in today’s media environment.

We’ll start by harkening back to high school English class. Remember the inverted pyramid?

Inverted Pyramid

The inverted pyramid reflects the important hierarchy of information, which is crucial to making sure that a reporter hears the most vital components of your message. Ask yourself: What makes (this project, my company, this law, etc.) newsworthy? This core message should be stated early and often – don’t be afraid to be redundant. A reporter may well be interested in the details about the processes of your work or your personal background, but it’s vital not to eschew the “newsworthy” aspects of your message in favor of the minutiae.

Remember: In many cases, a 30-minute interview can result in no more than a one or two-sentence blurb about you or your company. And, while some reporters may ask to record your conversation, reporters are human, and it cannot be assumed that they’ll publish your main focal point. As a result, it’s up to you to ensure that your message is being received.

A few tips:

  • Repeat or rephrase your core message at least two to three times throughout the interview
  • Draw the reporter’s attention to your core message (i.e. “The main point here is…”)
  • Condense your main themes into a statement that can be conveyed in 30 seconds or less
  • Make sure that any examples, supporting points, or details relate directly to your core message

If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:

Building Relationships

Writing a Letter to the Editor

Composing a Press Release

Press Release Boilerplates

Kyle Kirkpatrick
Account Supervisor
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team

Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee

AIA Small Firm Roundtable – the Business of Architecture Summit 2015

Business of Architecture Summit 2015AIA SFRT Co-sponsors Business of Architecture Summit 2015
October 29-30, 2015

Is your firm ready for the next 5 years?

Are you jumping at every opportunity that comes your way, or are you taking a long-term, sustainable approach that is based on a winning strategy?

As the economy heats up, don’t let the ‘urgent’ get in the way of that which is most important.

This October 29th-30th, the AIA Small Firm Roundtable is co-sponsoring a 2-day live, virtual event with Business of Architecture focused on preparing your firm for the next 5 years. Better yet, the SFRT leadership has negotiated half-off the registration cost for SFRT members (details below).

Over the 2-day tele-broadcast Summit, you’ll hear from some of the leading thinkers on creating a sustainable practice with a focus on long-term strategy, success, and financial security.

Here are a few comments about last year’s event: “Attending…the Summit will be one of the most important things I do for my practice this year, if not this decade!” (architect Cary Westerbeck) and “The Business of Architecture Summit was the most ‘profitable’ 2 days I have spent in a long time,” (architect Frank Heitzman).

During this event, you will get over 10 AIA LU’s and, as an AIA Small Firm Roundtable member, you can get 50% off by using the special coupon code “sfrt-summit-2015” as you register (hint: if you’re a small firm, you’re a member).

You won’t want to miss this event created specifically for small firm owners.

Go here to reserve your seat: The Business of Architecture Summit

This is an online broadcast event – no travel is required. When you register you’ll also get access to all the session recordings so that you can watch them on-demand at your leisure.

WORKING WITH THE MEDIA – Press Release Boilerplates

AIA-NJIn our year end review of the 2014 activities of the AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee, we asked you to stay tuned for tools that will help you make a splash in the press. Below is the fourth in a series of articles that will help you in that regard. With your help, we hope to be able to leverage our strength in numbers to help promote architects, architecture and AIA-NJ.

Our previous installments of Working with the Media discussed ways in which you, in a personal or professional context, can begin to build a bridge with the editorial staff of your local or regional publications. This included some strategies as to how to introduce yourself (and your expertise) to the outlet, along with a brief guide for writing an effective letter to the editor and a primer on packaging newsworthy projects into a formal press release that you can distribute to relevant media.

One component of most press releases is referred to as the “boilerplate,” because of its repeated usage in various announcements put out by the company or organization. A firm’s boilerplate is generally a brief overview of the company as a whole, which is approximately a paragraph in length and provides context about the company’s core competencies. Content-wise, it includes general company information, such as size and scope of the client base and service offerings, as well as any affiliations or accolades of note.

For demonstrative purposes, below is the boilerplate language that AIA-NJ uses on each press release it issues:

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and allied professionals. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architecture profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has 2,000 members in six local sections. For more information, please visit visit .

As the above example exhibits, a boilerplate should give a brief description of the organization and its relevant history, while also promoting the any notable accomplishments of its membership.

In your boilerplate, it’s also helpful to reference AIA-NJ to help contextualize your company for the reporter. Because most industry reporters in the region have a built-in familiarity with AIA-NJ, this description helps to codify the announcement with their prior coverage of architecture. See below for a potential example from a member firm:

[NAME] is a licensed architect and a member of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) with a focus on the design and implementation of sustainable residential and commercial buildings. With over 20 years experience in the region, [NAME] continues to uphold a commitment to meticulous, detail-driven design. For more information, visit our website at

Composing this sort of tailored, purposeful summary has a distinct value beyond press releases. Once completed, this brief company overview can also be used in other contexts, from the “About Us” section of your firm’s website to providing succinct descriptions to potential clients on the firm’s core competencies. The boilerplate language is also natural content for use on social media channels or marketing materials.

If you would like to read the previous articles in this series, please see the following links:

Building Relationships

Writing a Letter to the Editor

Composing a Press Release

Kyle Kirkpatrick
Account Supervisor
Beckerman PR Real Estate Team

Bruce D. Turner, AIA
Chair, AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Committee

Additional Dates AIANJ Code Seminar

AIANJ Code Seminar – Additional Sessions Dates

The scheduled seminars for the adopted 2015 International Building Codes and the 2014 National Electric Code are sold out for next week.  A second set of the seminars are in the process of being scheduled now.

Save the Dates:   February 3rd & 4th, 2016

Registration will be open soon, if you were unable to attend the September seminars please call AIANJ and we will put you on the reserve list to be one of the first to register for the February sessions,  Please call:  609-393-5690

AIA 2016 Code Seminar STD

AIA South Jersey & AIA West Jersey Joint Meeting

Tuesday September 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm
Annata’s, Hammonton, NJ

Using Social Media and Houzz to Promote Your Business

AIA  Sept 29 2015 Invitation




October 23 – 24, 2015

AIA NJ will be hosting the 2015 AIA NJ State Convention at the Hanover Marriott in Whippany from October 23 – 24, 2015. The two day event will include keynote addresses by Shirley Blumberg of KPMB Architects based in Canada, a retrospective of Michael Graves work and contributions to the field of architecture, Mike Michalowicz, author of the Pumpkin Plan and a discussion with Deans from leading Architecture Schools around the country.

Speakers will offer a broad range of topics from design to business administration throughout the two days. A Friday-only Trade Show will unveil the latest products and technology in the field.

Three tours have been scheduled: Hebrew Academy of Morris County , now known as Gottesman RTW Academy – Tour the newly renovated building complex that is a LEED building/complex designed by KSS Architects; World Headquarters of Wyndham Worldwide, both LEED accredited buildings designed by Gensler; and Craftsman Farms – Tour the Log House at Craftsman Farms, Gustav Stickley’s rustic country estate.

New this year will be the Design Awards Dinner where winners of the 2015 Design Board Competition will be announced and honored.

Mark your calendars now for the two-day convention that has the potential of 13 CEU credits. Network with fellow architects in the region and support AIA New Jersey.

To register, visit the event website.


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