Position Statements

Livable Communities

AIA Virginia members support policies that promote the planning and design of prosperous, vibrant, healthy and livable communities with housing, retail, schools, and employment in close proximity to transportation options. Properly planning growth protects open space and the environment by reducing sprawl. Additionally, concentrating development in areas with existing infrastructure reduces governmental costs. Learn more here.

High Performance Buildings

AIAVA members support governmental policies, programs, and incentives that encourage energy efficiency, especially as it relates to the built environment. Energy efficiency not only reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, it also creates jobs. Every $1 million invested in the design and construction of buildings yields 28.5 full-time jobs. With buildings and their energy use accounting for nearly 70 percent of electricity consumption (more than 45 percent of total energy consumption) in the United States, energy improvements to the built environment yield a significant benefit.

Qualifications-Based Selection

AIAVA members strongly support qualifications-based selection (QBS) of architects and professional engineers for projects in Virginia. Under QBS, public bodies must identify architects on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification for the type of professional services required before negotiating reasonable and fair fees.

Expedited Permitting

AIAVA members believe that expedited permitting increases tax revenue for local jurisdictions and reduces costs for investors. Delays in permit approvals cost millions of dollars in lost revenue because projects that take longer to complete delay localities’ ability to assess taxes. Streamlining the process for acquiring building, plan, and site permits also can save the design and construction industry substantial time and money.

Helping Small Firms Thrive

AIAVA members support policies that open doors for small design firms to create jobs and economic opportunity. Small architecture firms and sole practitioners work in every community to help homeowners and businesses design better buildings. Architecture is by and large a small business profession: 95 percent of architecture firms in the United States employ 50 or fewer people. However, the triple challenges of the recession, high tax rates, and burdensome paperwork have forced many small firms to shut their doors.

Access to Credit

AIAVA members support policies that will ensure credit is available for worthy commercial and residential development projects.

Disaster Assistance Initiative

AIAVA members worked with legislators to enact Good Samaritan legislation that offers liability protection to architects who volunteer during emergencies or government-declared disasters. AIAVA has recruited architects to serve as volunteers during disaster recovery efforts, assisting Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and FEMA with damage assessments. Download the AIA Handbook for Disaster Assistance Programs for more information.

Architectural Design Review Boards

AIAVA members strongly support government practices that create architectural design review boards composed of highly qualified members. Design review boards offer communities a venue for supporting innovative, effective design. To be most effective, such boards should have clear and specific standards, review them with all stakeholders, and update them regularly. Ensuring an appropriate level of expertise on the board is essential: The nature of work on architectural review boards requires a mix of architectural expertise and experienced, innovative leadership.

Civic Participation

Finally, AIAVA members strongly support architects’ efforts to increase their civic participation. AIAVA believes that through such participation, architects will be better positioned to use their business and professional expertise to affect community design and planning, and to position themselves for political office.

Learn about the AIA’s federal advocacy efforts.



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Virginia Accord

  • The Virginia Accord

    Bringing together the planning and design disciplines to examine two key themes critical to the future — job creation and environmental sustainability — on Sept. 19-20, 2014 at the Virginia Accord.