Tag Archives: Disaster Relief

Community Resilience Course

Community Resilience Course
Hosted by: AIA New Jersey
August 1, 2017
8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Join us for our Community Resilience course and learn about the meaningful actions that you and your community can take to enhance resilience to natural hazards and of the opportunities available to incorporate these actions into professional practice. Increase your understanding about community resilience (CR) and how it can benefit hazard planning, including practices of how community resilience can be enhanced at the local level. Learn about resources and tools that can assist to identify the various components of risk and strategies for integrating community resilience into existing plans and programs.


Holiday Inn East Windsor
399 Monmouth St.
East Windsor, NJ 08520

More Information
Click Here

Please utilize the registration code: 15706
For registration assistance, contact the NDPTC at 808-725-5220 or email [email protected].

All interested participants must need create a NDPTC online profile to register for the course, the online profiles can be created here.

Once a profile is created, the interested participant can select the course delivery and register to attend. If you already have a profile please log in using your credentials and then register for the course.



Bill now moves to Governor Christie’s desk

Last night, the New Jersey State Senate unanimously passed A2025, a AIA-NJ-supported bill that grants immunity from liability for certain professional services rendered during emergencies under certain circumstances.

The bill was also unanimously passed by the Assembly in May, with the support of sponsors Assemblymen Lou Greenwald, Paul Moriarty, and Upendra Chivukula.

The bill now moves to Gov. Chris Christie’s desk for his signature. This is an important bill that AIA-NJ has been in support of for years. Please call or write to Gov. Christie to let him know how important this is for us:

Office of the Governor 
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625


To send a message to the Governor online, follow

this link and select from the topic list, ‘Law & Public Safety’.



Disaster Recovery with Good Samaritan Bill

Watch video taken at news conference held Monday, October 28, 2013, on the need for Good Samaritan legislation in New Jersey on the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

IMG_3286Majority Leader Greenwald on Improving Future Disaster Response, Recovery with Good Samaritan Bill (A-3694)

See video here:  http://vimeo.com/78010727

Proposed Good Samaritan Legislation in Response to Hurricane Sandy

Members of AIA-NJ were at the NJ State House today in support of Good Samaritan legislation.

AIA-NJ President Jack Purvis AIA,  along with Homeland Security Committee Chair and Past President Laurence Parisi AIA, President Elect Kurt Kalafsky AIA, and 1st Vice President Kimberly Bunn AIA at press conference with Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald.

AIA-NJ President Jack Purvis AIA, along with Homeland Security Committee Chair and Past President Laurence Parisi AIA, President Elect Kurt Kalafsky AIA, and 1st Vice President Kimberly Bunn AIA at press conference with Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald.

Reprinted from: News From The Assembly Democrats



(TRENTON) — Joined by professional experts the day before the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy making landfall in New Jersey, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington) called for Good Samaritan legislation to improve the state’s ability to respond to large-scale natural disasters.

Modeled after successful approaches used in 26 other states, A3694 would bolster safety inspection capacity in the aftermath of disasters like Sandy, the scale of which can easily overwhelm local governments.

“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. “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.”

Greenwald’s legislation, A3694, would shield licensed architects and Professional Engineers from liability when they volunteer their services in response to major natural disasters. Without such protection, many of these professionals are deterred from volunteering their professional aid in times of critical need—unduly restricting the ability to quickly and effectively provide safety inspections after a large-scale disaster.

“When our communities are in crisis after a natural disaster, they need all the help they can get,” said Greenwald. “Yet the potential for massive lawsuits keeps these critically needed volunteers on the sidelines. By enacting a Good Samaritan law, we will promote public safety while greatly strengthening our state’s ability to effectively respond to disasters.”

According to a 2013 article in Crain’s New York Business, nearly 400 architects stood ready to use their professional expertise to assist in assessing storm-damaged properties in New York City days after Superstorm Sandy hit. But the specter of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in potential lawsuit liability deterred the vast majority from volunteering their assistance, leaving local officials overwhelmed by the scale of the task. Without a Good Samaritan law, New Jersey faces a similar problem.

In contrast, Alabama’s Good Samaritan law, enacted in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, was crucial in the aftermath of devastating tornadoes that killed 64 people and caused $2.2 billion in damage in April 2011. In response to the devastating category EF-4 tornado, over 200 professionals volunteered nearly 1,300 hours in Tuscaloosa alone, inspecting over 7,000 buildings for safety—critical assistance given the municipality’s limited staff resources.

“Volunteer licensed architects have been a key component in disaster response across the country for decades,” said Jack Purvis, A.I.A., President of the American Institute of Architects, NJ Chapter. “Majority Leader Greenwald’s Good Samaritan legislation will promote better safety and more efficient disaster response for the next natural disaster that hits New Jersey.”

“When major disaster strikes, volunteer Professional Engineers stand ready to answer the call,” said Robert Thiel, P.E., President of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers. “Majority Leader Greenwald deserves great credit for this Good Samaritan bill, which will help New Jersey better respond to the next big storm.”

To protect property owners, licensed professionals would be shielded from liability only after meeting A3694‘s rigorous legal standards. To qualify for immunity, licensed architects or Professional Engineers must provide professional services:

* Voluntarily and without compensation;

* At the request of a federal, state or local public safety official acting in his or her official capacity;

* At the scene of a declared national, state or local emergency caused by a major hurricane, earthquake, tornado, fire, explosion, collapse or similar disaster;

* During a limited period of time after the disaster (90 days following the emergency, with extensions permitted by gubernatorial executive order under the Governor’s emergency powers)

Under the bill, licensed architects or Professional Engineers would remain liable for the full extent of damages caused by their own acts or omissions that are wanton, willful or grossly negligent.

A3694 has been referred to the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee.

Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan – Update 3/13/2013


The Christie Administration unveiled its proposed Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan, which outlines how the State plans to utilize $1,829,520,000 in federal funding.

Excerpts are below – Read the full article with this link to the state site:  http://www.state.nj.us/governor/news/news/552013/approved/20130312c.html

Helping Families Return To Their Homes:

Assisting homeowners in the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and elevation of their homes and helping them prepare for future storms is a top priority of the Christie Administration’s rebuilding efforts. Superstorm Sandy caused an estimated $3.837 billion in damage to houses and apartments throughout the state, with over 86,700 units impacted. The Administration’s Plan proposes a variety of programs to meet the needs of displaced homeowners and renters whose primary residences were damaged by the storm.

Supporting Economic Recovery and Revitalization:

Economic recovery and revitalization is also a top priority of the Action Plan to restore communities and promote job growth. Businesses in the 113 municipalities most impacted by Superstorm Sandy incurred $382 million in commercial property loss and another $63.9 million in business interruption losses.   To help New Jersey businesses, the Christie Administration is setting aside $500 million in funding for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to administer.

Assisting Local Governments And Property Taxpayers:

While the housing and economic sectors are the central focus of this first allocation of CDBG Disaster Recovery funding, the Christie Administration also proposes to use funds to help local governments provide essential services after incurring unanticipated expenses caused by the storm that are not reimbursed by FEMA. The Action Plan proposes to allocate $116 million in funds.

Providing For New Jersey’s Most Vulnerable Citizens And Protecting Shore Communities:

Governor Christie is committed to helping low-to-moderate income families as well as vulnerable populations recover from Sandy. The Christie Administration is proposing a range of rental housing activities designed to replenish rental housing stock lost to Sandy, rehabilitate affordable rental units left uninhabitable by Sandy, and provide affordable housing for special needs populations.

The New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency will administer rental housing and homebuyer assistance programs, which would be funded by at least $154 million. It is estimated the Action Plan’s rental development and rehabilitation programs will create 3,000 jobs and $500 million in economic activity.


Read more details on this plan

Spring Break 2013 – Sandy Relief


Dear AIA Members,
NJIT’s Alternative Spring Break is March 16-24, 2013. We are coordinating efforts of other colleges and universities, too, so we can direct volunteers to organizations during March and April.

To volunteer, please register on our website:  https://njit-csm.symplicity.com/surveys/Sandy. Attached is a flyer on the Kick-Off Sessions as well as other information on the program. We are starting to make assignments, so we need registrations ASAP.


Thank you
View PDF of flyer –  Sandy_springbreak2013

Opportunity for NJ Architects in Sandy Recovery

From our friends at Downtown New Jersey:

Positions with The Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination Group

The Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination Group has a number of positions available in conjunction with Sandy recovery. Positions include the following: Architect, Community Capacity Building, Economic Development Coordinator, Community Planner, Engineer. Click here for a copy of the employment flyer. While we wanted to get the word out about the positions quickly, we are also aware that there have been glitches in working with the web site referred to in the flyer. As updated contact information becomes available, we will keep you informed.

Ideas Needed for Sandy Relief

AIA-NJOver the last month an AIA-NJ task force has been exploring options to best help New Jersey post Hurricane Sandy.  At the beginning of the year, the American Institute of Architects made a contribution of $37,500 to AIA-NJ to help with Sandy Recovery efforts .  The task force was established to develop programs to distribute the funds.
We are looking for suggestions from YOU – our membership – on ways to do this.  Any ideas or suggestions on how the money could be used to help bring our local communities closer to pre-Sandy times.   Got an idea comment below, or  forward them via email to AIA-NJ President Jack Purvis at [email protected] subject line: Sandy Relief Program .
Thank you for your help.
– AIA New Jersey 

2013 Presidents Message – January

purvis_2013On January 5, 2013, I, along with my fellow officers, was sworn in as the Leaders of AIA- NJ for the year 2013.  I could not ask for a better group of dedicated volunteers.

The presidency position requires a five year commitment.  I am currently in my fourth, and hope to continue in the high standards of those who have preceded me.

My goals for the year are that of the AIA New Jersey Mission Statement:

AIA New Jersey Supports its Members and Promotes the Public’s Understanding of Architecture through Advocacy, Education and Service.

Having lived most of my life in southern Monmouth County, I see the devastation caused by Super Storm Sandy.  It is still hard to understand the long term effects. I have attended a number of programs, with Engineers, FEMA, house lifters, State and town representatives. There are still a lot of unknown factors. One example is the preliminary flood zone changes and their effect on the renovation of homes and businesses. A flood zone change can require a change in the foundation type from a standard masonry foundation with water vents to a deep foundation that requires pilings, recovery will be a long term process.  As president of AIA-NJ I will do everything I can to get the information our members need to assist their clients in rebuilding.

The American Institute of Architects made a contribution of $37,500 to AIA-NJ to help with Sandy Recovery. At our Board of Trustees meeting of January 15 a task force was established to develop programs for distributing the funds. We are looking for suggestions from our membership. Please forward any ideas to [email protected] subject line: Sandy Relief Program.

This is shaping up to be a busy year. We will be offering a number of programs at the state level and promoting programs at the Sections.   An organization like ours is as only as great as its members and their participation.  When you do attend a program, bring an intern with you.   I look forward to meeting you there.

– Jack Purvis, AIA, LEEDap

2013 AIA-NJ President



Below is a partial list of AIA events coming up over the next few months,
if you are interested in attending any event please reach out to AIA-NJ for more information.




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


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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