Governor’s Office Seeks Architects for Appointments to Boards and Commissions

AIA Virginia will be providing the Governor’s Office with a slate of candidates for consideration for appointment to several Commonwealth of Virginia Boards and Commissions. Our organization advocates for the Architect’s voice on these bodies to help shape policies and strengthen our communities. See the submission requirements

Submissions are due to AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, FAIA by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 14, 2020. Please note which Board or Commission you’d like to serve on in your submitted documentation.

We will be submitting a slate of nominees for each of the following Boards and Commissions:

Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA)

Purpose: The Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA Board) examines, licenses, and regulates approximately 35,000 individuals and related business entities in Virginia. Learn more.
Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 4 times per year*

Fair Housing Board

Purpose: The Fair Housing Board administers and enforces national and state fair housing laws. The laws prohibit housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, familial status (families with children under age 18), or “elderliness” (age 55 or older). The Board investigates housing discrimination through the Virginia Fair Housing Office, and oversees an education-based certification program for housing providers. Learn more.
Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 6 times per year*

Secure and Resilient Commonwealth Panel

Purpose: The Secure and Resilient Commonwealth Panel is established as an advisory board in the executive branch of state government. The Panel shall have as its primary focus emergency management and homeland security within the Commonwealth to ensure that prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery programs, initiatives, and activities, both at the state and local levels, are fully integrated, suitable, and effective in addressing risks from man-made and natural disasters. Learn more.
Meeting Frequency: At least biennially*

Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation

Purpose: The nine-member Board for Professional and Occupational Regulation is responsible for: monitoring the policies and activities of the Department; evaluating the need for regulation, if any, of unregulated professions or occupations; advising the Governor and Department Director on matters relating to professional regulation; recommending regulatory frameworks to the General Assembly, when professional regulation is necessary to protect the public interest; and providing citizen access to the Department and promoting education of the public about professional regulation. Learn more.
Meeting Frequency: Estimated at 4 times per year* 

*This is an estimate of meeting frequency. The Board may have a need to meet more frequently depending on the amount of business that needs to be addressed

AIA Virginia Advocates with Preservation Virginia to save Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

AIA Virginia publicly endorsed and supported a letter written by Preservation Virginia to Governor Ralph Northam that offers the perspective of using the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HRTC) as a vehicle for economic recovery. With some state officials projecting a $2 billion dollar budget deficit over the upcoming biennial, difficult spending decisions will have to be made regarding the recent budget. The letter notes that the spending generated by construction and related activities generates $4.20 to $5.30 of economic impact for every $1.00 of tax credit. In addition, it indicates that the HRTC program resulted in $467 million in economic output, supported by nearly 10,000 jobs for every $1 invested through the first three years.

Click here to view the entire letter.

2020 BIG Advocacy Victories!

It’s time for some good news and our work in advocacy provides just that!

I’m pleased to present that the Governor signed our two major bills that passed the General Assembly.

The first is Senate Bill 658 (SB 658), which makes the “duty to defend” language in indemnification clauses against public policy.  This requirement is often not insurable. The legislation was carried by Sen. Scott Surovell (D – Mount Vernon).

The second is House Bill 1300 (HB 1300) and its companion Senate Bill 607 (SB 607)both provide for a 15-year statute of limitation for design and construction projects performed for the Commonwealth of Virginia, including public institutes of higher education. HB 1300 was carried by Del. Chris Hurst (D – Blacksburg) and Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R – Williamsburg) served as the patron of SB  607. Prior to now, a design professional was liable for his/her work for eternity on these projects.

Through the increasing membership support of our Political Action Committee (PAC), we have been   able to build increasingly more legislative relationships. Please make a 2020 investment in our PAC today to help elevate our voice on the built environment. We need you.


2020 General Assembly Wrap-Up

On March 7, the 2020 General Assembly adjourned sine die.

With a new Democratic majority in both chambers, we saw a fast-paced session full of proposals on energy, sustainability, fair housing, anti-discrimination, labor rights, and gun-control. In this session, the Senate introduced 1,095 bills and the House introduced 1,734 bills respectively. In addition, 299 resolutions were put forth for consideration. There were many long days spent advocating for AIA Virginia. However, one of the great highlights was recognition of AIA Virginia on the House floor by Del. Betsy Carr (D – Richmond) at the end of February. Del. Carr’s remarks emphasized the important role that architects play in shaping equitable, resilient, and healthy communities.

The Joint Legislative Committee (JLC), composed of practitioners from AIA Virginia and ACEC Virginia, reviewed all the bills and resolutions to determine the ones to act on. 

We are thankful for the volunteer service of our AIA Virginia JLC representatives as follows:

Kathy Galvin, AIA – Principal at Kathy Galvin Architects
Ed Gillikin, AIA – Principal at KOP Architects
Kenney Payne, AIA – Vice President at Moseley Architects
Stephen Weisensale, AIA – Senior Associate at Commonwealth Architects

If you know any of these individuals, please take a moment to reach out to them and share your gratitude.

AIA Virginia played an instrumental role in three major bills, of which as of today, are awaiting the Governor’s signature.  SB 658, which makes the “duty to defend” language in indemnification clauses against public policy, was carried by Sen. Scott Surovell (D – Mount Vernon). HB 1300 and its companion SB 607 both provide for a 15-year statute of limitations for design and construction projects performed for the Commonwealth of Virginia, including public institutes of higher education. HB 1300 was carried by Del. Chris Hurst (D – Blacksburg) and Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment (R – Williamsburg) served as the patron of SB  607.

Through the increasing membership support of our Political Action Committee (PAC), we have been able to build increasingly more legislative relationships. Please make a 2020 investment in our PAC today to help elevate our voice on the built environment. We need you.

Below are the bills that AIA Virginia engaged or monitored during the session.


The organization acted in a lobbying capacity on the following bills:

HB 833Carroll Foy – Virginia Public Procurement Act; public works contracts, prevailing wage rate, penalty.

HB 1078Hope – Virginia Public Procurement Act; process for competitive negotiation, etc. (Note: The bill patron agreed to language that would exempt architects.)

HB 1300Hurst – Virginia Public Procurement Act; statute of limitations on actions on construction contracts. (Position: SUPPORT)

HB 1414Filler-Corn – Transportation; amends numerous laws related to funds, safety programs, revenue sources, etc. (Note: Successfully lobbied for building projects associated with transportation to be procured using Qualifications Based Selection)

SB 94Favola – Virginia Energy Plan; relating to the Commonwealth Energy Policy (Position: ADVOCATE FOR SEAT)

SB 385McPike – Engineers; exemption from regulation. (Position: SUPPORT)

SB 487Bell – Virginia Public Procurement Act; architectural and professional engineering term contracts. (Position: SUPPORT)

SB 607Norment – Virginia Public Procurement Act; statute of limitations on actions on construction contracts. (Position: SUPPORT)

SB 658Surovell – Contracts with design professionals; provisions requiring a duty to defend void. (Position: SUPPORT)

SB 890Saslaw – Transportation; amends numerous laws related to funds, safety programs, revenue sources, etc. (Note: Successfully lobbied for building projects associated with transportation to be procured using Qualifications Based Selection)


AIA Virginia monitored bills placed in this category.  Often, we watch bills because they are of interest and we want to remain informed.  When this is the case, it is often another organization taking the lead due to its specific expertise and political relationships.  If amendments are introduced that make a bill in this category detrimental to our profession, then it is moved to the ACTIVE list and we engage.  There are some bills that AIA Virginia does not take a position on.  An example of this would be bills that define “small business”.  Because of the composition of our membership, we would not want to take any action that would hurt any of our members.

HB 22Lindsey – Virginia Shoreline Resiliency Fund; grant program.

HB 454Wyatt – Virginia Public Procurement Act; purchase programs for recycled goods, climate-positive materials.

HB 558Lindsey – Micro-business; enhancement of participation in local procurement.

HB 810Bourne – Virginia housing opportunity tax credit program; VHDA, et al., to develop. (Position: ADVOCATE FOR SEAT)

HB 882Bulova – Stormwater management; proprietary best management practices, reciprocity.

HB 890Sickles – Construction management and design-build contracting; use by local public bodies.

HB 1313Hodges – Chief Resiliency Officer; Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to designate.

HB 1407Ward – Misclassification of employees as independent contractors; Department of Taxation to investigate.

HB 1431Mugler – Art and Architectural Review Board; changes number of member quorum.

HB 1541McQuinn – Central Virginia Transportation Authority; created.

SB 110Howell – Research and development tax credits; extends sunset date, aggregate caps.

SB 333Stuart – Uniform Statewide Building Code; security locking mechanisms.

SB 341Locke – Construction management and design-build contracting; use by state and local public bodies.

SB 368Bell – Virginia Public Procurement Act; architectural and professional engineering term contracts. (Position: SUPPORT)

SB 481Favola – Employees; earned sick leave, civil penalties.

SB 888McClellan – School Construction and Modernization, Commission on; established, report. (Position: ADVOCATE FOR SEAT)

SB 963Surovell – Commonwealth Efficient and Resilient Buildings Board; establishes. (Position: ADVOCATE FOR SEAT)


The following depicts the bills of interest to AIA Virginia that were introduced but were not successful: 

HB 24Lindsey – Hurricane and Flooding Risk Reduction and Bond Rating Protection Act of 2020; established, report.

HB 40Samirah – Public schools; mental health break spaces, regulations.

HB 84Fowler – Virginia Public Procurement Act; proposals to public higher educational institutions, disclosure.

HB 133Miyares – Virginia Public Procurement Act; professional and information technology project services contracts. (Position: OPPOSED)

HB 283Cole, J.G. – Highway construction and maintenance; time limitations.

HB 346Davis – Small Business and Supplier Diversity, Department of; redefines “small business.”

HB 359Lopez – Virginia Public Procurement Act; consideration of best value concepts for construction services.

HB 364Cole, M.L. – Statewide prioritization process; project selection.

HB 382Convirs-Fowler – Virginia Shoreline Resiliency Fund; grant program.

HB 389Miyares – Hurricane and Flooding Risk Reduction and Bond Rating Protection Act of 2020; established, report.

HB 525Subramanyam – Greenhouse gas emissions; State Air Pollution Control Board to conduct a statewide inventory.

HB 601Freitas – Administrative Process Act; review of occupational regulations.

HB 685LaRock – Va Public Procurement Act; preference for contractors using automatic billing verification software.

HB 898Guzman – Employees; earned sick leave, civil penalties.

HB 953Ayala – STEAM programs; establishes STEAM Education Fund. (Position: SUPPORT)

HB 970LaRock – Transportation; use of funds.

HB 982Webert – Professions and occupations; licensure by endorsement. (Position: OPPOSED originally and then shifted to neutral when the patron agreed to our bill language amendment)

HB 1005Mullin – Uniform Statewide Building Code; exceptions, provisions, and modifications.

HB 1109Hudson – Income tax, corporate; combined reporting requirements, disclosures.

HB 1134Lopez – Small Business and Supplier Diversity, Department of; redefines small business.

HB 1156Lopez – Historic rehabilitation; increases tax credit. (Position: SUPPORT)

HB 1274O’Quinn – School Construction Fund and Program; created and established.

HB 1364Hodges – Resource Protection Areas; improvement plans.

HB 1373Hodges – Flood Resiliency Clearing House Program; developed by Department of Conservation and Recreation.

HB 1377LaRock – Architectural and engineering contracts; certain localities.

HB 1389LaRock – Transportation funds; use of funds for projects.

HB 1488Hudson – Virginia Public Procurement Act; definitions, clarification of “best value.”

HB 1538Austin – Commonwealth Transportation Interstate 81 Corridor Bond Act of 2020; created.

HB 1650Ward – Small Business Procurement Enhancement Program; established, report.

HB 1709Heretick – Small businesses; definition to include LGBT-owned businesses.

HB 1714Wyatt – Transportation, Department of; design standards, modifications.

HB 1732Miyares – Uniform Statewide Building Code; installation of key boxes of high-risk structures.

HJ 67Orrock – Affordable housing; Virginia Housing Commission to study the definition.

SB 5Stanley – Board of Education; uniform minimum standards modern; public school buildings.

SB 6Stanley – Voter referendum; issuance of state general obligation bonds for school facility modernization.

SB 418Petersen – Virginia Public Procurement Act; cooperative procurement, construction.

SB 475Bell – Virginia Public Procurement Act; use of best value contracting.

SB 797Lewis – Uniform Statewide Building Code; exceptions, provisions, and modifications.

SB 829Stanley – Governor; authority to reinstate professional licenses.

SB 1061Petersen – C-PACE loans; residential dwellings and condominiums.

SB 1087Pillion – School Construction Fund and Program; created and established.

If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to Corey Clayborne, FAIA at

AIA Virginia and ACEC Virginia Acknowledged by General Assembly

AIA Virginia and our legislative advocacy partners ACEC Virginia were acknowledged on the House floor of the General Assembly on Feb. 26, 2020.

Below are the remarks made by Del. Betsy Carr:

Thank you, Madame Speaker, I rise for an introduction. Today joining us in the gallery are representatives from the American Council for Engineering Companies of Virginia and the American Institute of Architects Virginia Chapter. If they would please stand…

These organizations are present today to represent the important work that architects and engineers do for the Commonwealth, whether it is the design of buildings, parks, roadways, public utilities, electrical grids or renewable energy sources, or the next generation of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. Architects and engineers have a direct and vital impact on the quality of life for all Virginians through designing equitable, resilient, and healthy communities. They take an oath and must be dedicated to protecting the public health, safety, and welfare in performing their professional services. 

Today, as Virginia responds to a changing climate, both architects and engineers are working together to respond to these effects by designing sustainable and resilient structures that reduce their impact upon the natural and built environment, and protect the life and property of all Virginians.

Madam President I ask that members of the body please stand and give them a warm House welcome.

Pictured in photo
Bottom row, left: Lynden Garland, AIA; Kathy Galvin, AIA; Corey Clayborne, FAIA; Rob Comet, AIA; Chris Stone, PE
Top row, left: John Stuart, PE; Eric Burke, PE; Nancy Israel; Paul Anderson, PE

PAC Pin Design Contest Winner

Last fall, AIA Virginia’s Government Advocacy Advisory Council and the PAC Board of Trustees engaged the membership in the creation of an updated PAC pin.

Historically, members who invest in AIA Virginia’s Political Action Committee (PAC) have received a lapel pin that can be worn to demonstrate his/her support of our legislative efforts. The existing pin had become dated as it used the organization’s past name of VSAIA (Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects).

We were pleased to announce at Architecture Exchange East last November that Allison Ewing, AIA, LEED AP, Founder & Partner at Hays + Ewing Design Studio has won this design contest and her pin design is now ready to be worn by AIA Virginia members statewide who give to the AIA Virginia PAC.

Join these donors and support the candidates who understand the architecture profession and receive the new PAC pin.

About Allison
As an architect and leader, Allison Ewing has advanced sustainability through design, implementation, and advocacy – both within and beyond the architectural profession — by modeling change in the building industry with solutions both visionary and practical. Working on commercial, institutional, residential, and mixed-use projects at both large- and small-scale, Allison Ewing’s architectural experience spans twenty-five years and three continents. Ms. Ewing’s work seeks transformation – of site, of workplace, of living environment. She pursues design excellence at all scales, from site to building to detail – an approach which encompasses meeting client’s goals while arriving at elegant solutions that embody sustainable best practices.

Prior to forming her own firm HEDS with partner Chris Hays, Ms. Ewing was Partner at William McDonough + Partners, and design associate at the Italian firm of Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Her work experience also includes the offices of Cesar Pelli & Associates and Mitchell Giurgola Architects.

Ms. Ewing has been a speaker at a number of national and international events related to sustainable design and her work has been published in EcoHome, USA Weekend, Dwell, Custom, and the Washington Post Home. She has received many design awards, including “Custom Home of the Year Award” from Custom Home Magazine. The Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center of Virginia received the top Virginia AIA award in 2018.

Ms. Ewing received her Masters in Architecture from Yale University Graduate School of Architecture. She was the recipient of a Monbusho Fellowship to Japan where she studied Japanese housing.

“Allison Ewing ranks high among the first-generation of architects leading our industry toward sustainability over the past 30 years, and her name, work, voice, and lasting influence in this crucial field stand alongside those of visionary peers like William McDonough, Ed Mazria, Bob Berkebile, and Mary Ann Lazarus.” – Rick Schwolksy, Senior Fellow, Architecture 2030

Federal Architecture Call to Action

The AIA is aware (and has been actively addressing this) that there is a draft executive order circulating for consideration by White House officials that would officially designate “classical” architecture as the preferred style for the following building types: federal courthouses, all federal public buildings in the Capital region, and all other federal public buildings whose cost exceed $50 million in modern dollars. The AIA strongly and unequivocally opposes this change in policy to promote any style of architecture over another for these types of federal buildings across the country. 

The draft executive order defines “classical architectural style” to mean architectural features derived from classical Greek and Roman architecture. There are some allowances for “traditional architectural style” which is defined to mean classical architecture along with Gothic, Romanesque, and Spanish colonial. The draft executive order specifically prohibits the use of Brutalist architecture or its derivatives.

Except for Brutalism, there is some language in the draft executive order that would allow for other architectural styles to be used in cases where it could be conclusively proven that a different style is necessary. However, the high bar required to satisfy the process described within the executive order would all but restrict the ability to design the federal buildings under this order in anything but the preferred style. The process would include a personal written justification from the Administrator, which cannot be delegated to staff, and which is still subject to review by the White House.

The AIA strongly condemns the move to enforce a top-down directive on architectural style. All architectural styles have value and all communities have the right to weigh in on the government buildings meant to serve them.

The AIA has been communicating with White House staff on this issue. We urge you to add your voice to reiterate our fervent belief that design decisions should be left to the designer and the community, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. Click here to email President Trump.

2020 Political Outlook in Virginia


Politically, it is a new day in Virginia.  What once seemed to be a doomed Democratic party is now in control of both the legislative and executive branches of government.  Not so long ago, the three elected statewide offices were getting pummeled with negative national press regarding “black-face” scandals with the Governor and Attorney General and sexual assault allegations against the Lieutenant Governor. There was a moment where prominent Democrats in Virginia and in Congress were urging for the resignation of Governor Ralph Northam.  It appears he has weathered the “storm” and in fact can make the case to be one of the most consequential Governors that Virginia has seen.

Now, Democrats control the Senate by a count of 21 to 19 and the House 55 to 45.  This is the first time Democrats controlled the state government in nearly 30 years. Speaking of firsts, the 2020 General Assembly will welcome the first female Speaker of the House in the 401-year history of the legislative body. In addition, this is also the most diverse legislature ever with a record number of women and minorities to hold a seat.  It should be noted that this diversity includes the first female Muslim legislator, Sen. Ghazala Hashmi and the first African-American/first woman Majority Leader, Del. Charniele Herring.

Type of Legislation to Expect

Democrats have many “pent-up” demands that will be presented in the General Assembly this year now that they are in control.  Many predict that passing the Equal Rights Amendment will be the first order of business.  Next, expect to see minimum wage raised, the ushering in of gun safety measures, and legislation that prohibits discrimination against underrepresented groups.  For architects, we will see action on affordable housing, transportation, broad-band expansion, and mitigating a changing climate.  We will have many opportunities to engage and shape the policy that impacts our communities.

AIA Virginia’s Legislative Priorities

AIA Virginia works in partnership with the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia during each General Assembly for our advocacy efforts.   This year, we have two major goals:  to eliminate the “duty to defend” language in pubic project indemnification contract clauses and to work with the Associated General Contractors of Virginia to get a statute of limitations in the law for the work we perform on state projects.  Our professional liability insurance will not defend other parties, thus posing substantial risk to our members who do public work.  In addition, the locality’s attorneys typically will not strike this clause as architects and engineers are viewed as a commodity (if firm A doesn’t sign this, we will just go to firm B).  Getting a statute of limitations on the books will put a finite cap on how long you are liable for your design work on all state projects, including public universities.

In addition to these priorities, we are advocating and monitoring bills in the arenas of school safety, resilience, sustainability, and housing access affordability.

Duty to Defend – AIA/ACEC filed bill

SB 658Surovell – Contracts with design professionals; provisions requiring a duty to defend void.

Statute of Limitations – AGC filed bill with language from AIA/ACEC

HB 1300Hurst – Virginia Public Procurement Act; statute of limitations on actions on construction contracts.

Please be on the lookout for weekly General Assembly updates on the bills we are actively engaging and monitoring beginning the week of January 17.

Also, please support our advocacy efforts by investing in our PAC.  We can’t do the great work we are doing without your support.

Important Dates of the General Assembly

  • January 8 – General Assembly session convenes
  • January 17 – Final date members can submit any legislation for introduction
  • February 11 – Bill crossover
  • March 7 – Sine die
  • April 15 – Reconvene session

AIA Hampton Roads Snatches the “Rumble in the Jungle” Victory

At Architecture Exchange East, AIA Hampton Roads was crowned the winner of the second annual “Rumble in the Jungle.” The trophy was presented during the conference’s General Session by Delegate Lamont Bagby who serves as the Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. As the winner, AIA Hampton Roads will receive $1,000 from AIA Virginia for use during its 2020 Architecture Week to enhance its public outreach efforts.

AIA Hampton Roads had 100% investment participation from its Board of Directors, approximately 5% of its total membership invested [the 2017 statewide participation rate was roughly 2%], and the average contribution per member out of total component membership of 384 individuals was $15.99.

The AIA Virginia PAC Award looks to celebrate the engagement and commitment of a local AIA component who supports the advancement and mission of the PAC. The Award will be presented at Architecture Exchange East to the local component’s Board of Directors who will accept the award on behalf of its respective membership. The Award criteria is based on a point total calculation based on three areas: local component Board participation, percentage of local component’s membership who have invested in the PAC, and total amount of money invested by the members of the local component.

Invest at

AIA Virginia is thankful for the following 2019 PAC Investors:

$5,000 to $9,999
Architecture, Incorporated

$2,500 to $4,999

$1,000 to $2,499
Glave & Holmes Architecture
Moseley Architects
Quinn Evans Architects
VIA Design Architects
Kenney Payne, AIA

$500 to $999
LeMay Erickson Willcox Architects
MG2 Corporation
William T. Brown, AIA
Robert Comet, AIA

R. Corey Clayborne, AIA
Theresa del Ninno, AIA
David King, AIA
Gregory Powe, AIA
Elisabeth Sloan, AIA
Nick Vlattas, FAIA
Lou Wolf, AIA
Dan Zimmerman, AIA

Husain Alam, AIA
Ron Anderson of Nello Wall Systems
Jim Boyd, AIA
Carolyn Rickard-Brideau, AIA
Scott Campbell, AIA
Andrew Cheng, AIA
Tim Colley, AIA
Karen Conkey, AIA
Robert Dunay, FAIA
Robert Easter, AIA
Rebecca Edmunds, AIA
Thomas Ellis, AIA
Eliza Engle, AIA
Lynden Garland, AIA
Genevieve Keller
Thomas Kerns, FAIA
Ed Gillikin, AIA
Eric Keplinger, AIA
Jeanne LeFever, AIA
Jeremy Maloney, AIA
Beth Reader, FAIA
Sean Reilly, AIA
Robert Reis, AIA
J. Mitchell Rowland, III, AIA
James Scruggs, AIA
Charles Todd, AIA
Chris Venable, AIA

Up to $99
Anonymous (10)
Krystal Anderson, AIA
Sam Bowling, AIA
Scott Boyce, AIA
Debbie Burns, Hon. AIA
John Burns, FAIA
Mickey Chapa, AIA
Phoebe Crisman, AIA
April Drake, AIA
Jori Erdman, AIA
Keesha Ezell
Braden Field, AIA
Rhea George, Hon. AIA VA
Jody Lahendro, FAIA
Spencer Lepler, AIA
Nathaniel McCormick, AIA
Robert McGinnis, FASLA
Andrew McKinley, AIA
T.J. Meehan, AIA
Shawn Mulligan, AIA
Kathryn Prigmore, FAIA
Gareth Ratti, AIA
Susan Reed, AIA
Amanda Schlichting, AIA
Damian Seitz, AIA
Marc Treon, AIA
Chris Warren, Assoc. AIA
Ed Weaver, AIA
Jean Webster, AIA
Rob Winstead, AIA
Fred Wolf, AIA

ACE Virginia Joint Owner Forum Recap with Southwestern Virginia Local Governments

ACE is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry. In 2018, its inaugural year, ACE held three collaborative forums that connected the design and construction professions with those that hire them. What resulted was an improved understanding of what makes projects successful from the perspective of all stakeholders, an intimate forum for business development, and an opportunity to learn about future projects.

On November 13th, ACE had its fourth and final Joint Owner Forum of the year in Roanoke. This year, we have engaged various local governments from around the Commonwealth. This session hosted stakeholders and decision-makers from the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, Radford City Schools, and the Town of Blacksburg.

The panel consisted of the following participants:

Nell Boyle, LEED AP BD+C – Sustainability/Outreach Coordinator [City of Roanoke]
Randy Formica, PE – Director of Engineering and GIS [Town of Blacksburg]
Robert Graham – Superintendent [Radford City Schools]
Terry Kemp – Architect I [City of Roanoke]
Tarek Moneir – Acting Director of Development Services [Roanoke County]
Morgan Yates, CBO – Building Commissioner [Roanoke County]

Below is a snapshot of the key points discussed:

Upcoming Projects

  • Utility, water/wastewater and infrastructure projects in the Town of Blacksburg
  • Radford City Schools has aging buildings and facilities, estimated $34-$36M needed for all capital improvements for schools
  • Roanoke County is focused on transportation (419 corridor), stormwater and stream restorations. The County recently installed a new permitting system to facilitate the design and construction process
  • The City of Roanoke will have a bridge renovation, two new fire stations upcoming, bus transfer station, and begin the planning of an “Innovation Corridor” to connect to Virginia Tech facilities

Procurement Methods

  • Annual services contracts are utilized frequently in this region by municipalities
  • The PPEA process has been used for a police department, library, safety center, parking garage, and school projects. It appears that the Town of Blacksburg and Roanoke County have used this project delivery method most frequently
  • CM-at-Risk has not been used by any entity yet

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

  • The City of Roanoke has made the most progress in terms of documentation and benchmarking of sustainability. By the end of 2024, its goal is to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 12.5% for municipality buildings and 10% for other community structures. These are new goals as the City has continually been decreasing GHG emissions over the recent years. The City tracks energy usage in all facilities.
  • The City of Roanoke’s standard is to design and build to LEED Certification
  • Roanoke City Schools will be engaging in a large ESCO contract soon
  • Radford City Schools is looking for opportunities to save money with utilities. Honeywell recently did a study to show building energy inefficiencies which indicated that the City spends about $50k per month in utilities.
  • The Town of Blacksburg has a Sustainability Manager. All new buildings are expected to be designed to LEED Silver

Regional Issues

  • Transportation: Valley Metro Service – extending service between the City and County
  • Balancing bicycle/pedestrian/automobile networks
  • Affordable housing and Senior living units
  • Urging of the General Assembly to have funding reach rural Virginia
  • 40%-50% increase in wages to keep a good labor force in construction; increasing minimum wage may compound this issue
  • It is difficult to project escalation in capital programs budgeting. Some projects have been bid two to three times because of the increase in construction costs

Best Practices for Success

  • Responsiveness
  • Demonstrating control of the schedule
  • Remember that you are an extension of our staff
  • Come to an interview and show that you have put some thought into the design challenge
  • Prove your ability to allow collaboration and engagement, especially with the community
  • Call our locality the RIGHT name
  • When the project is complete – come back and check on it
  • Accountability, Communications, and Trust (ACT)
  • Get to the point in your RFP proposal (BLUF – Bottom Line Up Front)
  • Customer service and develop effective ways of communication
  • Ask for a debrief if you don’t get the project
  • It can be helpful if the A/E is able to share projected energy savings from preliminary energy models during the RFP and interview stage.

Our Joint Owner Forum series will continue in 2020 so please stay tuned!