School Safety

AIA Virginia Grabs Seat at the Table with Legislators on School Safety Discussion

In light of recent school shootings, the Select Committee on School Safety was formed by House Speaker Kirk Cox [R-66th District] in May of this year. This is the first select committee formed in the House in 155 years. Speaker Cox shared that the scope of the Committee is to evaluate strengthening emergency preparedness, hardening school security infrastructure, implementing security best practices, deploying additional security personnel, providing additional behavioral health resources for students, and developing prevention protocols at primary and secondary institutions across the Commonwealth. The committee must complete its work by November 15 and produce a final report containing recommendations for the 2019 General Assembly no later than December 15, 2018. In order to accomplish its work, the Committee has been divided into three Subcommittees that will study the following focus area: Prevention, Mental Health, and Infrastructure and Security.

As architects, each and every one of you are a valuable resource to this conversation. Communities are shaped by the design decisions we make. We are privileged to be tasked by the Commonwealth with the responsibility to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public as we design the structures in which our community members live, work and play.

Bill Brown, AIA

With the support of Delegate David Toscano [D-57th District], Delegate Christopher Peace [R- 97th District], and Delegate Nick Rush [R – 7th District], AIA Virginia has been requested to present to the Infrastructure and Security Subcommittee on Friday, August 17 in Richmond. The Subcommittee is interested in hearing from architects the following:

• What happens in each design phase?
• How do architects design for all hazards (i.e. fire, natural disaster, active shooter, etc.)?
• What is the history and evolution of school design over time?
• What are the current trends in school design?
• What do architects consider when taking on a new construction project vs. renovation?
• What are legislators in other states doing on this issue?

Rob Winstead, AIA

Two of our members who are experts in school design have stepped up to give the presentation. One will be AIA Virginia Immediate Past President, Bill Brown, AIA and the other is sitting AIA Central Virginia President, Rob Winstead, AIA. In practice, Bill is a Vice President at Moseley Architects in Fairfax and Rob is a Principal at VMDO Architects in Charlottesville.

I’m asking that you please make a contribution to www.aiavapac.org.  No amount is too small or too large.  Help us have a seat at the table as the voice of the ARCHITECT.

Corey Clayborne, Executive Vice President of AIA Virginia, cclayborne@aiava.org

 

AIA Virginia Investing an Additional $17k for Qualifications Based Selection Loophole

Government Advocacy is part of the AIA membership. We must engage in legislative and regulatory affairs as it is the steering wheel to controlling your own destiny as professional. It is not an option.

Virginia has a relatively strong QBS process for procuring professional services and the central procuring agency in the state (DGS) continues to embrace the use of QBS. Unfortunately, several local governments, institutions of higher education, and other public bodies in the Commonwealth have taken advantage of exceptions to the QBS process within the VPPA. One specific exemption that we continue to see used is the ability of a local government to adopt its own “procurement act” within which it may choose to use a competitive process that is based on price, as opposed to qualifications.

In partnership with the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, we will engage our lobbyists, Williams Mullen in additional services in an extensive effort to close the loophole. It is expected to be a multi-year effort.

Prior to any outreach, Williams Mullen will perform the necessary legislative research to determine the history of the specific exemption we are seeking to close as well as develop draft legislation that will close the loophole. The legislative effort to close this loophole has many challenges, starting with what we expect to be significant opposition from the Virginia Association of Government Purchasers, the Virginia Association of Counties, the Virginia Municipal League, and many individual local governments. While we plan to work with those entities at the appropriate time, we are fully expecting the need to enter the 2019 General Assembly Session facing significant opposition. In anticipation of this opposition, the lobbying effort will include “in district” one-on-one meetings (prior to the session) with key members of the General Assembly who serve in a leadership position or on the key committees (House and Senate General Laws). Due to the significant turnover, particularly within the House, the one-on-one meetings will be our opportunity to educate legislators (many for the first time) on the importance of QBS.

We will need our members to be ready to engage at the appropriate time in these meetings. Please don’t worry, AIA Virginia will make sure you are prepared to answer the call of duty.

During our education effort, we will be working closely with Chairman Peace and Chairman Ruff with the goal of each serving as a patron in their respective bodies. As long as one or both of the bills are still alive we will continue our lobbying effort through subcommittee, committee, the floor, conference committee, and the Governor’s office.

Corey Clayborne, AIA
Executive Vice President
cclayborne@aiava.org

Not-So-Good PAC Fact

Less than 3% of AIA Virginia Members Participate

There’s marginal progress from last month. As of today, 70 participants have contributed to the AIA Virginia PAC totaling $5,235. Three of the participants are actually not members. Though this is the most participation we have had in the first six months of a calendar year in many years, we must do better.

The majority of members say their biggest value with AIA Virginia is Government Advocacy. Yet, I’m scratching my head in disbelief as the number of practitioners who do public work and contribute to the PAC is microscopic. Our voice is only a whisper at the table because the PACs of chicken farmers dwarf ours.

Here is how PAC membership participation stacks up by local AIA component:

 

Check out this infographic to see how we compare to allied industries.

I’m asking that you please make a contribution to www.aiavapac.org.  No amount is too small or too large.  Help us have a seat at the table as the voice of the ARCHITECT.

ACE Virginia Joint Owner Forum Recap with Higher Ed Clients

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.

ACE had its second forum on June 18 at the College of William & Mary. Approximately 100 members from the three organizations attended to hear what those who lead the design and construction efforts at the College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University had to say.

The panel consisted of the following participants:

Jeff Brancheau, PE – W&M Director of Facilities, Planning, Design & Construction
Mary Cox, FAIA – VCU University Architect
Jean Kennedy Sleeman, AIA – ODU University Architect
Terry Woodhouse – NSU Director of Capital Planning and Improvements

Great dialogue was exchanged regarding upcoming projects and long-range planning, how to get work, SWaM, sustainability, and procurement vehicles. Audience members shared their desires for university leadership to be transparent in consultant selection, provide uniformity in standards, and define the expectations of value engineering early in the design process. The event was followed by a networking reception that allowed for more intimate conversation with the panelists.

Upcoming Projects and Long Range Planning: Each university panelist spoke in depth of their upcoming capital projects and provided spectacular insight on its long-range planning. These opportunities for design and construction professionals crossed a wide spectrum of building types that include academic buildings for the sciences and athletic facilities. The panelists shared this information to allow attendees an opportunity to formulate a strategy in pursuing these opportunities.

How to Get Work: The panelists shared what they want to see in the RFP responses that design professionals submit. How can you stand out from the crowd in developing a proposal? Here are the top items these decision-makers look for:
• BCOM Experience (particularly for NSU)
• Project Experience as a Team
• Readability of Proposal
• What Do Your References Say About You?
• Similar Project Experience
• Who is the Project Manager?
• Make Sure the Interview Team is “THE TEAM”

SWaM: Each university is committed to the success of Small, Women, and Minority-owned businesses. There is a strong desire to be sustainable and use local talent while spreading the work to various firms. One key takeaway that was shared by a panelist is that leaders of SWaM firms should ensure that they receive training on procurement tools such as eVA.

Sustainability: This portion of the discussion touched not only building sustainability but site sustainability as well. For example, ODU faces significant challenges with implementing the required stormwater management policy. This is an issue that craves innovative design-thinking. There was a general consensus that LEED is the sustainability design metric being utilized at each campus.

Procurement Vehicles: The Term Contract is the procurement vehicle used by these universities to establish relationships with consultants, often on smaller-scale projects. This makes these contracts incredibly competitive. There was a general consensus by the panelists that this contract vehicle was preferred over Category B contracts. The use of Public-Private-Partnerships is rare for these universities. VCU has the most experience with this vehicle while others have not taken this step.

The next ACE Event is being planned for the end of September to host higher education clients in the western side of Virginia.

Gubernatorial Appointment Opportunities

Board of Housing and Community Development

Two seats on the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development will be up for reappointment.  The Board of Housing and Community Development consists of 14 citizen members, including 11 members appointed by the Governor from each of Virginia’s Congressional Districts, a representative from the Virginia Fire Services Board appointed by the chairman of that board, the Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, and the Director of Regulatory Compliance of the Virginia Building Officials Association.  Candidates that wish to be considered should live in either the 6th or 11th Congressional District

Please see the link below for a map of each District:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia’s_6th_congressional_district

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia’s_11th_congressional_district

For those that are interested, please send a letter of interest on letterhead to AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne at cclayborne@aiava.org  by June 30, 2018, in PDF format.

SAP Training

Thirty-seven regional architects, engineers, and building inspectors participated in Post-disaster Safety-Assessment Program (SAP) training this past Saturday, June 9 in Norfolk.

SAP training. June 9, 2018. Norfolk.

SAP training provides architects and other building professionals with the knowledge to provide evaluations of facilities and buildings in the aftermath of a disaster. With the beginning of Virginia’s hurricane season, this training will benefit communities across the state in the event of a natural disaster. Attendees earned a Cal-OES registration ID card and are now certified volunteer building safety evaluators.

Architects frequently volunteer with state and local jurisdictions to help determine the safety and habitability of homes and small businesses when emergency management and building departments are overwhelmed, which has been the case in the wake of recent hurricanes. This benefits communities by reducing temporary shelter needs and supporting services when residents are cleared to safely return home. Architects provide this service pro bono as part of their membership in the AIA and its Code of Ethics.

AIA Virginia is exploring hosting 2nd SAP training at Architecture Exchange East this November in Richmond.

Lobbying for Architecture

This was one of the most politically intense General Assembly sessions Virginia has seen in a long time. There were 19 new members elected to the House, which many believe was a backlash to the results of the Presidential election. A number of Democrats were victorious in their races without the financial backing of their caucus. There was an incredibly large volume of bills introduced. That number climbed north of 3,700 when typically, it rarely exceeds 3,000. Most bills placed a strong emphasis on how will it impact my caucus/race to re-election.

The profession of architecture has its hands full. This is especially the case for practitioners that do public work. A number of localities have adopted their own competitive negotiations processes for hiring professional services. The existing Code of Virginia allows this to occur to provide flexibility to the various sizes and complexities of local governments. As one may imagine, these local procurement processes ARE INDEED, requiring price during the proposal phase and there is not an effective way to monitor or track which localities are doing this. Localities are not required to submit their customized procurement process plans to the state, and as such, there is a high level of unawareness that this is even occurring. And if a legislator knows it’s occurring, the next question is, do they care?

More and more of you are sending me RFP’s that are requiring price in the proposal. It seems to be happening more so with the RFP’s issued by local School Boards.

AIA Virginia is working on a plan with our lobbying counsel, Williams Mullen, and our allied professional society the American Council of Engineering Companies Virginia to close this loophole. This will be more than a one-year effort. You are critical to the success of this plan.

Here are the initial components of our plan:

Get the Facts: Determine and confirm how many localities in Virginia are procuring professional services through their own customized procurement processes and requiring price as part of the proposal. As you can imagine, this is a gigantic task in itself.

Education: We are preparing for an intense amount of educational meetings with legislators out of session that will be led by Williams Mullen. I’m going to be calling some of you to attend these meetings.

Legislative Sponsor: Determine if there is a Legislative Committee Chairman that would be willing to support a change in the Code of Virginia to close this loophole. This individual would be instrumental in leading the process and getting enough votes for any proposal to pass.

Please do keep me posted on RFP’s that have this language as it will help us tremendously in this first stage. This is going to be a long tug-o-war. The number of lobbyists that represent local governments and their respective associations towers over that of design professionals. However, our membership is north of 2,300 – there is Strength in Numbers. And when we decide to put our pens and mouse down for a second to unite, we have the potential to be quite powerful.

Corey Clayborne, Executive Vice President of AIA Virginia, cclayborne@aiava.org

Advocate for Action on Climate Change

 

 

Architects Advocate Action on Climate Change Develops Election-Year Tool to Empower Members on Environmental Issues

The Catalytic Action Platform outlines steps that architecture firms and “citizen architects” can take to advance the cause of finding solutions to climate change

May, 2018 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chicago, IL—Eighteen months after its formation, the nonpartisan grassroots network Architects Advocate Action on Climate Change (Architects Advocate) has grown to more than 900 firms and over 2,400 individual members. Now, the group is focusing on ways to activate firms and citizen architects.

“Maybe more than any other profession, architects are trained to build consensus around multiple—and often competing—interests and stakeholders. We need to deploy these skills towards a redesign of the systems that impact all of society. This is leadership in the truest sense. To achieve the ultimate goal of transforming to a carbon-free economy, we need to go to the polls and make choices based on issues, not parties,” said Architects Advocate co-founder Tom Jacobs.

To shape and accelerate the process, the network created a Catalytic Action Platform that is tailored to both individuals and firms to serve as a roadmap for activist efforts.

Citizen architects—individuals who commit to being guided by science and prudence, to being nonpartisan, and to taking action—are encouraged to take ownership of their role as employers of the government officials who represent them through participating in the Open Letter drive. Already signed by 1,500 architects nationwide, the document highlights the need for continued growth of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. Citizen architects are encouraged to use the letter (available at www.architects-advocate.com) when contacting incumbents and candidates to find out if they commit to bipartisan climate action.

At the firm level, members are encouraged to support existing initiatives like the 2030 Commitment by the AIA and the We Are Still In coalition, which represents the broadest cross-section of the U.S. economy ever assembled in pursuit of climate action. Architects Advocate also recommends firms include fossil-free fund options in their 401(k) plan offerings, allowing their employees to align their financial resources with their environmental values.

Jacobs said that Architects Advocate Action on Climate Change prioritizes results over the organizational structure. “As a leaderless network and platform of architects, we are highly nimble and able to mobilize quickly; something that can be challenging for more traditionally structured groups like the AIA, which represents 90,000 members. The opportunity before us is to innovate advocacy by meshing both approaches, to combine the advantages of our grassroots network with the initiatives and resources of the AIA.”

For more information, visit www.architects-advocate.com.

Joint Owner Forum with Higher Education Clients

 

 

 

 

 

Register today for the next Joint Owner Forum with higher education clients from the eastern region of Virginia. An interactive panel discussion with key university decision-makers will be held to discuss upcoming projects and ways the industry can best collaborate with the respective institutes. To date, commitments from William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Old Dominion University leadership have been provided. Additional universities are pending.

Date: Monday, June 18
Time: 3:00–5:00 p.m. followed by a Cocktail Reception
Location: The Sadler Center at The College of William & Mary, Williamsburg
Cost: $50
2 LUs available

Register today>> Space is limited. 

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.

Gubernatorial Appointment Opportunities

Board of Housing and Community Development

A vacancy has occurred on the Virginia Board of Housing and Community Development.  The Board of Housing and Community Development consists of 14 citizen members, including 11 members appointed by the Governor from each of Virginia’s Congressional Districts, a representative from the Virginia Fire Services Board appointed by the chairman of that board, the Executive Director of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, and the Director of Regulatory Compliance of the Virginia Building Officials Association.  The individual that will be appointed is required to live in the 7th Congressional District.

Please see the link below for a map of the District:

https://www.vpap.org/offices/us-representative-7/district-map/

AIA Virginia distributed an email notice to AIA members in the 7th Congressional District on April 5.  Due to the time sensitivity of this appointment, the deadline has been shortened from that notice.  For those that are interested, please send a letter of interest on letterhead to AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne at cclayborne@aiava.org  by April 20, 2018, in pdf format.

 

Art and Architectural Review Board

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s  Art and Architectural Review Board (AARB) reviews and advises the Governor on the acquisition and design of works of art, buildings, and structures on property owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The AARB meets year-round on a monthly basis and is comprised of six members, to include a designee of the Department of Historic Resources, and five citizen members appointed by the Governor. Agencies are responsible for submitting project information to AARB for its consideration.

In June 2018, an opening to serve in this capacity will become available.  AIA Virginia plans to present a slate of qualified candidates to the Governor’s office for consideration.  For those that are interested, please send your resume and a letter of interest on letterhead to AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne at cclayborne@aiava.org  by April 30, 2018, in pdf format.