Category Archives: Business


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  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  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

Justin A. Mihalik, AIA,  Licensure Subcommittee Chairperson

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

Hurricane Sandy Small Business Recovery and Matchmaking Summit


Women in Architecture NJ Meeting

WIA New Jersey

Tuesday we will be hosting our next Women In Architecture meeting.  Please RSVP by Monday if you will be attending Tuesday night’s event.

Similar to our last meeting we will have an open discussion on a specific topic.

This month we will be speaking with Alexis Goldman and Severine Rennie who have recently completed their licensing exams.

Additional topics include:

  • AIA Convention in Denver
  • Women In Architecture dinner/speakers at the convention
  • Women In Architecture Network Calls
  • Next Month’s tour ideas

WHEN: Tuesday, June 25th 6:00pm -8:00pm

Please RSVP by Monday to

WHERE: 261 Hollywood Ave, Fairfield, NJ 07004 (Fairfield Library).

If you have any questions feel free to call me at 908-644-4645.

Social Media is the HGTV of DIY – A wake up call for all you do it yourselfers!

Have you ever watched HGTV and felt inspired to remodel your kitchen, bedroom, or begin a landscaping project?! If so, you may have been delusional about the results, the time it takes to complete, and yes, even its costs. Do it “yourself” really requires a team of professionals to achieve a camera ready result. When you watched that 30 minute DIY TV show, did you see the weeks of prior design work and script writing, did you see the many unnamed workers that perform the work and ask yourself, is that “budget” real, did it include installation costs, adjusted cost of donated products and more importantly did it include the host/designer’s fees? Staging items may have even been brought in during filming that did not stay with the owners. Hours went into editing, camera angles were chosen, and anything that was not perfect was not shown.  Still feeling inspired?

So when something goes viral, when you find a marketing scheme you like for your business, and when you hear success stories from Constant Contact, do you tell yourself “Hey, if they can do it so can I?” Most likely you are wasting hours trying to market your business with no results, you may have several subscriptions and utilizing marketers that are telling you that you are getting “page hits”, but are you getting real-world results?  I bet you are using every single “social media” tool in the Toolbox that is the Internet. Well every job requires a specific tool, knowledge on how to properly use it and unfortunately you are using the wrong end of the screwdriver to paint your walls.

Here are some real world tips for anyone who wants results:

  • Viral versus virus- Are you spamming or stimulating?
  • Unless your logo goes on every product you produce, no one really cares about your label. Use the “free” image that you have been using for your profile picture on social media and Google Business Listings to place an image of what you really do. If you are an architect that only does residential work, well then post a picture of one of your residential projects. That is more of an attention getter than a logo using your initials!
  • Constant Contact will only reach people you have already reached out to! Unless you are a gym, a restaurant or another business that benefits from using coupons, you are wasting your time with e-mail marketing. You are milking the cow twice and making it angry.
  • Unless your target audience is teenagers and college students, get off Facebook for your business marketing. Try this experiment- type the industry and location of your business on Facebook’s search engine. For example, sticking with the architecture theme, try typing architects in NJ. Do you come up? Unless you are a brand, Facebook is for friends.
  • Do use Google or other search engines to increase your results. A great example of excellent marketing was Andersen versus Pella. For a few weeks, when you typed Anderson Windows, the first page hit was Pella’s article on why Pella was better than Anderson.
  • Finally, social media is not “do it YOURSELF”. That defeats the purpose of “social”. No one wants to be friends in real life with someone who only talks about themselves. Nor does anyone want to like, friend, or follow anyone who posts provocative MySpace style photographs of themselves, invites them to play Farmville, Pokes them every 5 seconds, fills up their newsfeed with web cats or emails them 5 times a day without anything interesting to say. Try to market your business as you would a conversation and not a 140 character tweet.

Jason Peist, Assoc. AIA
Regional Associate Director | New Jersey Region

WIA-NJ Hosts Leadership in the Industry Discussion

WIA New JerseyJoin Women In Architecture New Jersey for a discussion with Dana Nalbantian on leadership in our industry. Dana brings over 27 years of experience to her position as Studio Director/Project Manager at Gensler. With a Bachelor of Architecture from Lawrence Technological University, Dana balances her knowledge of both architecture and interiors in projects that range from a thousand to a million square feet.  As a board member of CoreNet NJ, Dana has moderated the Women’s Panel Discussion on Leadership.


The format of this meeting will be an open discussion with Dana. Please come with your questions related to leadership and how to thrive in the industry.  We will follow with a brief discussion regarding next steps for WIA-NJ.


Hosted by Modernfold Styles Inc


When:         Tuesday, May 21st @ 6:00 PM


Where:        15 Empire Boulevard, South Hackensack, NJ 07606


RSVP:     by Friday, May 17th


Legal Issues and Litigation Avoidance for Architects and Engineers

CarlowiczGaeckleWorking in collaboration with Atlantic Cape Community College and Hoagland Longo Moran Dunst & Doukas, LLP, Attorneys at Law, AIA South Jersey is pleased to announce a continuing education seminar: Legal Issues and Litigation Avoidance for Architects and Engineers. This is a full day seminar and will be held from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, on May 16, 2013, at the Mays Landing Campus of Atlantic Cape Community College. The instructors for the course are Andrew J. Carolwicz, Jr., Esq. and Richard W. Gaeckle, Esq., LEED Ap.

This program is approved for both 6 AIA/CES LU/HSW and 6 CPC Credits.


The professional practice of architecture and engineering is difficult enough without the threat of impending legal liability for providing one’s professional services. Nevertheless, the potential exposure to liability is a real issue that design professionals must recognize in performing their services. This program identifies those issues and offers risk management and litigation avoidance strategies that may be employed to help protect the design professionals from potential liability. Through interactive discussions, case studies and real life examples, this program will address the legal duties and professional obligations required of design professionals practicing in New Jersey. Issues of professional conduct versus civil liability, the standard of care expected of New Jersey design professionals, and methods available to limit the professionals’ liability will be addressed.

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and define the scope of the legal standard of care and required professional conduct.
  • Apply the professional legal duties and standard of care to actual practice situations in the context of construction site safety.
  • Assess specific practice issues and developing trends in the profession and the potential for liability.
  • Develop risk management and practice techniques to avoid potential liability.

For more information, a registration form and a course outline, click here.

AIA South Jersey Logo 2012



AIA South Jersey Membership Meeting

AIA South Jersey April 30 2013


Architects Edward N. Rothe, FAIA, and Martin G. Santini, FAIA, have announced the formation of Rothe-Santini and Company, an owner representation and project management services firm. In addition to Rothe and Santini, the firm’s leadership includes Harold G. Sterling, Esq., a real estate developer, owner and builder, who will serve as Senior Advisor and General Counsel.

With offices in Princeton and Englewood Cliffs, N.J., the firm will focus on facilities for the corporate, finance, education, healthcare, and government sectors, working on behalf of developers, corporate and institutional owners. They will develop concepts and strategies for capital building projects and programs that will deliver the short- term objectives of budget and schedule and achieve the long-term value of design.

“We established our new firm in response to today’s changing design and construction environment,” Santini commented. “Today, the traditional design-bid-build project delivery process is being replaced by alternative means and methods such as design/build. Roles and responsibilities of architects have dramatically changed and as a result, we saw demand among owners who need an experienced, industry-savvy partner to help them in the design and delivery of their real estate projects.”

Rothe-Santini and Company is led by senior design and construction professionals and a consortium of real estate and facility-related, project-specific experts. The company’s goal is to add value to an owner’s team by providing know how and leadership or to supplement an owner’s existing staff that may not have the time or experience required by a specific project.

“We are guided by the knowledge that excellence in design provides long-term economic value to an owner’s facility and that our experience can help to reduce the risks inherent in the design documents and construction process. We partner with owners to provide a project management approach balancing collaboration and accountability, minimizing risks for all and allowing the project team to perform at its best,” stated Rothe. “We see our role as a fiduciary one, whereby we are given responsibility to act on behalf of an owner and are accountable for the project bottom line. Having designed, built, owned and managed buildings, we think like owners.”

The firm’s process, modeled after New York City’s architect led Department of Design and Construction, includes hand selecting architects and consultants whose expertise match the requirements of an owner’s project, as well as managing these professionals to ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget.

Most recently a Principal with architecture firm Fletcher Thompson, Rothe has more than 35 years of design experience. He was a co-founder of New Jersey-based architecture firm Rothe Johnson Fantacone and a past President of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He was also elected to the AIA College of Fellows In recognition of his design ability and notable contributions to the profession.

Santini is the founder and former president of Ecoplan Architects, Planners, and Interior Designers of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and also previously served as construction consultant to SDS Procida Development Corporation in New York. In 2000, he received the “Distinguished Service Award” from AIA and was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 2002. Santini also received the Richard Upjohn Fellowship Award for his service on AIA’s national board.

About Rothe-Santini and Company

Experienced in all aspects of design, development, financing, construction and ownership, the firm is focused on delivering facilities and services that are socially responsible, environmentally sound and excellent in design. For more information about Rothe-Santini and Company, visit the company’s website, KNOW HOW: An Added Value at or contact Ed at erothe@rothesantini,corn or Martin at to learn how to we can help develop business opportunities.

Business Recovery Check List

Most business owners are aware of basic steps that should be taken before a hurricane, such as backing up computer files and having a preparedness plan. However, after a large storm, you have no idea what condition your business will be in. To keep the business flow as continuous as possible, you need to know what to do right after the hurricane.

 What to do after a disaster?   

Contact insurance agent or company

  • Have building inspected
  • Contact utilities to restore electric, gas, telephone, and water
  • Re-establish communications with employees, customers and suppliers
  • Assess Damage
    • Note structural, equipment and property damage including inventory, and materials
    • Avoid additional damage by making temporary repairs in order to continue to conduct business at current facility
    • Secure the building if relocation is necessary
  • Cleaning of facility
    • Make sure building is safe before reopening or allowing employees to return
    • Use proper safety items in the clean-up process

 Financial Implications

File business interruption insurance claim

  • Determine lost income
  • List steps required before the business can reopen
  • Consider financial obligations during interruption, including payroll and debt service
  • Gather the following information for insurance adjusters:
    • Sales records and history
    • Profit and loss statements and income tax forms
  • Maintain records of extra expenses incurred

There are also many state and federal government resources available to businesses. They include:

NJ Office of Emergency Management
NJ State Police Headquarters
PO Box 7058
West Trenton, NJ 08628

New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness

P.O. Box 091

Trenton, NJ 08625-0091
609-584-5076 or 

American Red Cross (ARC)
Contact the local chapter for publications on disaster planning.
American Red Cross Headquarters
2025 E. Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006
The ARC offers emergency training, go to

Small Business Administration

New Jersey District Office
Two Gateway Center
Newark, NJ 07102

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Region II
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278
212-680-3600 or toll free 800-621-FEMA

State Government Assistance 

For information on emergency planning and technical assistance contact the Business Action Center at 1-866-534-7789. Call Center representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.

The checklist above from the New Jersey Business Portal that you may want to share. Visit to copy it directly from their web site.

Christie Administration Announces Recovery Assistance for NJ Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

The State of New Jersey has a number of vital resources that are available to New Jersey businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy including financial support, information on temporary space, and technical assistance for impacted businesses. Information for all services may be easily accessed through New Jersey’s Business Action Center (BAC) by calling 1-866-534-7789 or through the state’s business portal at, the “one-stop” shop for business resources. Agents are also available to assist callers that speak Spanish.

The business recovery assistance services are designed to support businesses and workers who may be temporarily unable to perform their jobs due to the storm. These services include:

  • Guarantees of up to $500,000 for commercial lines of credit to businesses that need access to cash to improve their damaged property while awaiting insurance proceeds, with all related New Jersey Economic Development Authority fees waived.
  • Grant awards for businesses to assist with on-the-job training costs for new workers hired specifically to assist in disaster-related activities, such as landscaping and tree removal, construction, insurance claims, building supplies sales, materials transport, utility work, call and claims centers staffing, and infrastructure clearing and repair.
  • Availability of the Business Resource Centers at any of the currently operational local One-Stop Career Centers across the state as temporary hubs for businesses to access telephone and internet services as well as for job seekers and displaced workers seeking workforce development and unemployment assistance. The availability of Disaster Unemployment Benefits to provide income security for those displaced workers suffering temporary storm-related job loss.
  • Dispatch of Rapid Response team members to identified Disaster Recovery Centers to assist displaced workers.
  • Availability of services through New Jersey Youth Corps to assist non-profit, public and governmental entities in a variety of ways for disaster relief and clean-up.

In addition, BAC’s Business Call Center is also the one-stop resource for more information on how to get businesses back up and running. The Call Center staff can assist with the following services:

  • Arranging business facility inspections for buildings suffering major flood damage, as such conditions require structural integrity inspections before utility service can be restored. These inspections are handled in localcode enforcement offices and by local code enforcement officials. Anticipating an enormous increase in such work, the Department of Community Affairs has mobilized all qualified personnel to assist local governments in this effort.
  • Advocating for businesses seeking information from local utilities to restore electric, phone, gas and water services.
  • Advocating with insurance carriers to file and expedite claims.
  • Providing information on how to qualify for federal recovery assistance, and
  • Connecting businesses to the other county and local business services and to the services offered by the Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Centers that include assistance with insurance claims, as well as loans and business plan revisions.

For further information about best practices in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, please visit for continual updates.

Additional updates at:


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