Archive | Advocacy News

Virginia Press Association Launches Statewide Public Notice Website

Beginning May 8, 2017, architects will have a way to find and read public notices from anywhere in Virginia through a new statewide public notice website being launched by the Virginia Press Association.

The free website,, is keyword searchable and will provide access to all local, state and federal government public notices. This includes notices for public meetings, zoning permits, government contracts, court hearings, unclaimed property, foreclosures and other government, business and judicial information.

“Right now, public notices are published only in the area they impact,” said Betsy Edwards, executive director of the Virginia Press Association.  “But the new website will allow someone to quickly and easily look at public notices in another part of the state or to set up a statewide search to find all of the public notices on a particular topic.”

“Virginia’s newspapers are excited to be able to offer the public a way to stay better informed about what is going on in local, state and federal government,” said Edwards.

Posted in Advocacy News

Virginia Town Hall Regulatory Action Notice

The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation has made us aware of the opportunity for public participation and comment during a period for regulatory review.  APELSCIDLA Executive Director Kate Nosbisch advises that this is offered on a very limited basis.  Please see, below, the “Virginia Regulatory Town Hall Action Notice” and respond as you deem appropriate.  Note that the deadline for their receipt of comments is April 19, 2017:

The following regulatory stages have been submitted for publication in the Virginia Register

Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects
 Agency Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
 Chapter Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects Regulations (18 VAC 10-20)
 Action General Review 2017
 Stage NOIRA
 Comment Period 03/20/2017 – 04/19/2017
More details on this stage

Please address any questions or comments to

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AIA Releases Statement on Immigration and Visa Restrictions

On Feb. 20, 2017, the American Institute of Architects released a formal statement on immigration and visa restrictions. Organized around core organizational values, it asserts that people from around the world who desire to live, study, work and travel to and from the United States are vital to American growth and innovation and that immigration and travel restrictions negatively impact business and the profession of architecture.

The AIA upholds the following principles:

  • All people everywhere must be treated fairly and with dignity and respect.
  • Immigration policy must ensure our visa system welcomes individuals who want to contribute to society and stops those who seek to harm us.
  • Architecture is a global profession. Immigration and travel restrictions can disrupt the business of many of our nation’s architectural firms that serve clients and employ staff in and from the countries targeted by the restrictions.
  • Architecture firms and many other businesses must have the ability to attract and retain highly qualified and skilled talent from within and outside the US to remain competitive and meet demand.
  • Freedom to travel without unnecessary restrictions enhances our ability to create and pursue business wherever opportunities exist and to better serve our clients. Strong businesses create jobs that contribute to the health of the US and global economy.
  • Exposure to global perspectives on the built environment is an essential part of architecture and architectural education in the US, and immigrants, colleagues, students and faculty from around the world contribute significantly to this character.
  • Societies everywhere benefit from the ability of architects of all nationalities to collaborate.

The AIA stands for these values and principles. The profession and the broader industry benefit from a visa and immigration process that is uniform, transparent and free from arbitrary implementation.

Posted in Advocacy News

General Assembly Wrap-Up

tl;dr: Historic Tax Credits are capped for 2 years, Construction Management has some new rules; Give to the PAC.

Like so much in the political scene these days, the 2017 General Assembly session has been a bit unusual. As the session came to a close a few days ago, here’s where things ended up.

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits
It was a wild ride. What started last summer with a subcommittee evaluating the effectiveness of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, suddenly became a  surprise $5M/tax payer cap in the Governor’s budget, and finally culminated in legislation that would have eliminated the tax credit altogether. With help from members, a coalition of supporters, and even Virginia’s first lady, we managed to walk the elimination back to the $5M/tax payer cap with a 2-year sunset. This result is certainly not what we hoped for at the beginning of the session, but we’ve managed to preserve the credit (for now).

We’ll be working between sessions to evaluate and share the results of several studies underway and to educate legislators about the benefits of the credit.

Issues surrounding public procurement usually take the bulk of our time, but this year we didn’t have quite as many battles to fight in this arena. We kept a close watch on a number of bills but stayed out the fray for the most part as other entities duked it out.

HB2366 and its Senate version SB1129 regarding the use of Construction Management contracts have been adopted.

HB1693 has passed and is waiting on the governor’s signature. In contracts for architectural and engineering services relating to multiple construction projects, this bill increased the fee for any single project from $100,000 to $150,000.

SB1508 added language to include certain school divisions under the exception from the $100,000 single-project fee limit for architectural and professional engineering term contracts and the $ 1 million annual aggregate total of all such projects. Under the bill, the school divisions may pay a single-project fee of up to $2.5 million and an annual aggregate of $6 million. Certain localities already enjoy this exception.

There was some movement on the definition of small businesses, though minor. HB1858 would allow for SWaM businesses certified at the federal level (or some other certification process comparable to Virginia’s) to be certified in the Commonwealth. I include this under the procurement category because we’ve been watching small business definitions carefully. If Virginia’s small business definition for architecture firms changes, it could have a substantial impact on Qualifications Based Selection because of Executive Order 20 and its requirement to exceed an expenditure goal of 42% with small businesses.

Lots of bills that could impact the regulatory environment showed up this year. They fell primarily into 2 different categories — legislation related to the Administrative Process Act and legislation related to regulatory boards.

Administrative Process Act
These bills were mostly aimed at reducing regulatory burden.

HB1731  requires the Joint Commission on Administrative Rules (on a yet-to-be-determined schedule) to conduct an ongoing review of the exemptions authorized by the Administrative Process Act.

HB1790  requires agencies to develop regulations in the least burdensome and intrusive manner possible. The bill calls for each agency to establish a schedule that provides for the annual review of at least 10 percent of an agency’s regulations.

HB1943 and its Senate companion, SB1431, require the Dept. of Planning and Budget to revise and reissue its economic impact analysis in certain circumstances.

SJ295 grants to the General Assembly the authority to review any administrative rule to ensure it is consistent with the legislative intent.

Board Regulation
Of all the bills related to the Regulatory Board that we were monitoring, none passed except for SB1374 which added an engineer to the board for contractors. The handful of bills that would have provided some additional oversight for the board all died. The bill that would have deregulated Landscape Architects and Certified Interior Designers failed, as did proposed regulation of land surveyor photogrammetrists.

Thank you
I hope you’ll join me in thanking Kenney Payne, AIA; Lynden Garland, AIA; Robert Burns, AIA and Ed Gillikin, AIA, who gave countless hours in support of our efforts. In addition, our friends with ACEC Virginia, the AIA Virginia Government Affairs Advisory Council and GIA Committee, and our legislative counsel with Williams Mullen were invaluable.

Obligatory PAC Appeal
No session wrap-up would be complete without an appeal to support the AIA Virginia PAC.

Our policy makers and politicians are stewards of our built infrastructure. They make decisions about the built world everyday — from funding, to planning, to preserving, to demolition — but most of them aren’t experts in design and planning. PAC money doesn’t buy influence, but it DOES help us get a seat at the table, so we can educate policy-makers on issues that are important to us. Give to the PAC today.

Posted in Advocacy News

General Assembly Update: Crossover Edition

Today is the mid-point of the 2017 General Assembly session, known as “crossover.” At this point, each house of the legislature can only consider bills passed by the other house. [Translation: No new bills and any bills that haven’t been heard yet are dead for the session.]

Here’s where things stand now:

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits — Two bills survive: HB2460 and SB1034. Both bills cap the credit at $5M per taxpayer (as does the Governor’s budget). We were successful in getting the Senate bill amended to include a one-year sunset provision. Because of Governor’s budget already assumed this $5M cap and its related savings, we’re told that this is our best case scenario in this incredibly tight budget year.

Our goal now is to visit with members of the House side (who will be hearing SB1034 in the coming weeks) to ask that they don’t strip our amendment out. The Senate is expected to automatically add our amendment to HB2460. Our message to the House committee members will be that we appreciate the prudent measures that legislators are taking regarding the budget and we support a one-year sunset on the $5M cap. We’re asking that they not make the cap permanent until we receive the results of the studies that are currently underway. These studies will evaluate the credit’s ROI to the Commonwealth and are expected to be complete by mid-summer.

We’ll be meeting with the following legislators who sit on the House Finance Subcommittee 3 this week:

Delegate Kathy J. Byron

Delegate Lee Ware

Delegate Robert D. Orrock, Sr.

Delegate Timothy D. Hugo

Delegate Mark L. Keam

If you’re able to join me in meetings on Wednesday or Thursday, please contact me as soon as possible at Even if your legislator isn’t listed above, please consider reaching out to express support for a one-year sunset on the cap in SB1034 and HB2460. If you have a personal story about how the current uncertainty regarding the cap has caused funders to pull back on projects, please contact me and/or share it with your legislator. Feel free to call me at (804) 237-1768 if you’d like to talk about the credit a bit before reaching out to your legislator.

Procurement – We’re monitoring SB1129 which deals with the use of construction management contracts.

And, though we haven’t taken a position on Virginia’s definitions for small businesses, we’re watching SB1334 very closely. If Virginia’s small business definition for architecture firms changes, it could have a substantial impact on Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) because of Executive Order 20 and its requirement to exceed an expenditure goal of 42% with small businesses.

Regulation — Though nearly a dozen have died, we continue to monitor several bills that relate to the regulatory environment.

SB1449 seeks to address general concerns about overregulation, however (as one observer put it), the bills add another state division and another commission, essentially creating more red tape. We’re not taking a position but will watch to see that amendments don’t take us in a bad direction.

Of the several bills intending to address anti-trust concerns related to the Supreme Court ruling, North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, HB1566 has prevailed. We’re generally supportive, but we’ll continue to watch closely to make sure no erosion of licensure or HSW protections creep in.

HB1731, HB1790, and HB1871 call for a review of the Administrative Process Act which could impact the regulatory environment further down the road.

Posted in Advocacy News

NCARB Responds to ABA Announcement

On Jan. 9, 2017, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) issued a statement responding to an announcement made by the recently constituted American Board of Architecture (ABA).

The ABA was founded in 2014 and describes itself as an accrediting body. ABA recently asserted that it is “writing new licensing exams and reforming state board [sic] of examiners to ensure qualified, unbiased public representation in law-making bodies.” ABA hopes to address what it describes as “corruption” and “fairness” issues stemming from current architectural licensing practices. NCARB requires a degree from a NAAB-accredited program to satisfy the education requirement for certification.

According to NCARB’s statement, “only state and jurisdictional governments have the authority to form, or reform, their boards. Regarding examination, all U.S. jurisdictions use the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) as produced by NCARB; some jurisdictions overlay additional examination components.”

Read NCARB’s full response>>

Posted in Advocacy News

Governor’s Budget Caps Historic Tax Credits; Threats Loom at Federal Level

As we’ve shared with you, a broad coalition* of supporters of Virginia’s Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit (HRTC) Program have been working with members of Virginia’s Joint Subcommittee to Evaluate Tax Preferences  (JSETP) over the last six months to help them better understand the program’s benefits.  After extensive analysis, the JSETP agreed to defer consideration of any potential legislative changes until an independent study of the program’s effectiveness has concluded. The study is underway and a report is expected to be released this summer.

Despite this understanding, Governor McAuliffe’s proposed budget includes a provision that places a $5M cap on taxpayers participating it the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. Legislation (HB 1635 and SB 1034) has also been introduced would institute an individual taxpayer cap similar to the Governor’s proposed budget amendment.

We will continue our aggressive work over this session to defeat HB1635 remove the per-taxpayer cap. In the coming weeks, we’ll be calling on you to express support for the program and join us for meetings with legislators.

Federal Historic Tax Credits (HTC) may be coming under fire as well. The incoming administration is prioritizing tax policy and it is believed that proposed tax reform will be hostile to tax credit programs.

Preservation Action is hosting a webinar on the topic on Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. If you’re interested in getting involved in the effort to preserve the federal HTC, put March 14-15 on your calendar for Preservation Action’s Lobby Day in D.C. We’ll share more information as it becomes available.

*Our coalition of advocates includes Preservation Virginia, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate, Virginia Bankers Association, Virginia Association of REALTORS, Southern Environmental Law Center, Associated General Contractors, Home Building Association of Richmond, and an expanding network of businesses, local non-profit preservation groups, and individuals from urban and rural localities across the Commonwealth.

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Mutual Recognition Arrangement with Australia and New Zealand

A new Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) between the architectural licensing authorities of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand enables U.S. architects to earn reciprocal licenses abroad, effective January 1, 2017.

Spearheaded by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), the arrangement was signed by the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). To take advantage of the arrangement, eligible architects must hold a current NCARB Certificate—a credential that facilitates licensure across borders. To date, 29 U.S. licensing boards have accepted the arrangement including Virginia, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“The arrangement is an exciting opportunity for architects seeking to expand their careers internationally,” said NCARB President Kristine Harding, NCARB, AIA. “NCARB Certificate holders have been able to pursue licensure in Canada and Mexico for some time, and this arrangement represents a significant step in providing additional benefits to these architects.”

This decision is the result of over two years of research and negotiation by a special NCARB evaluation team. The group’s analysis concluded that the path to licensure in Australia and New Zealand parallels U.S. requirements, with a strong emphasis on the three pillars of licensure: accredited education, structured experience, and comprehensive examination.

Inspired by a similar agreement with Canada, U.S. and foreign architects interested in earning a license in Australia or New Zealand must meet the following requirements:
• Citizenship or lawful permanent residence in the home country
• An active NCARB Certificate
• A license to practice architecture from a U.S. jurisdiction that has signed the arrangement
• 6,000 hours (approximately three years) of post-licensure experience in the home country
• Validation of licensure in good standing from the home authority
• Licensure in the home country not gained through foreign reciprocity
To learn more about earning a license to practice architecture abroad, visit

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.
NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration, and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in the United States and Canada.


Posted in Advocacy News

Statute of Limitations

Recent Va. Court Decision Has Some Concerned About Statute of Limitations

The below is not the result of exhaustive legal research and it should not be considered legal advice. We encourage anyone interested in this issue to contact and consult with local legal counsel.

(In light of the referenced case, an architect that has entered into an agreement with a Commonwealth agency and intends to utilize an AIA Standard Architect-Consultant agreement should consider adding language to the Consultant agreement explicitly waiving the applicability of the Statute of Limitations.)

A recent court case in Virginia (Hensel Phelps Construction Company v. Thompson Masonry Contractor, Inc., Et. Al.) has some worried about “flow down” or “pass-through” provisions in architect/consultant agreements. Though this case was specific to a construction contract (and warranties), the concern is that this could set a precedent for other contracts.

In the referenced case, the Contractor entered into the prime agreement with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) for construction of a student center. The prime agreement was silent on the statute of limitations. Because Virginia Tech was involved, Virginia Code Section 8.01-231 applied. It states that as a Commonwealth agency, the statute of limitations did not apply to Virginia Tech.  The Contractor’s agreements with the Subcontractors incorporated the prime agreement. The Subcontracts were also silent on statute of limitations — meaning that they did not independently discuss the applicable waiver of the statute of limitations to claims by Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech eventually brought a claim against the Contractor outside of the normally applicable statute of limitations, but the claim was not time barred because of Section 8.01-231. Unfortunately for the Contractor, any related claims against the subs were time barred (per the lower courts) because the Contractor did not get the benefit of Section 8.01-231 and its subcontracts were silent on the statute of limitations (SOL). As such, the standard 5-year statute of limitations applied to the Contractor’s claims against the subcontractors.

This case was up on appeal by the Contractor who claimed that the subcontractors were bound to it by the same terms and conditions (including the statutorily imposed waiver of the SOL) it was bound to Virginia Tech, by virtue of incorporating the prime contract into the subcontract.  The Virginia Supreme Court did not agree, noting that for there to be an effective waiver, there must be an “intentional relinquishment of a known right, with both knowledge of its existence and an intention to relinquish it.” The Court then noted that “a general incorporation provision is insufficient to waive a limitations period as it does not expressly acknowledge the right to a limitations period or intent to waive that right.” The result then, is that Virginia Tech can bring claims against the Contractor and the Contractor is unable to pass through those claims to the responsible Subs due to the statute of limitations. This case triggered questions on how this opinion would impact C401-2007, Standard Form of Agreement Between Architect and Consultant, if at all.

Where an Architect has entered into an agreement with a Commonwealth agency and intends to utilize an AIA Standard Architect-Consultant agreement, in light of the referenced case, the Architect should add language to the Consultant agreement explicitly waiving the applicability of the Statute of Limitations if it wants to avoid the same circumstances the Contractor found itself in in the referenced case. C401-2007 is silent on the time limits to bring claims, as was the consultant agreement in the referenced case. Accordingly, if C401-2007 were used by an Architect under similar circumstances, the result would likely be the same. It would appear that a court would find that because C401-2007 does not specifically waive the statute of limitations and the prime contract, which is incorporated by reference, is also silent on the statute of limitations, there would be no waiver of the statute of limitations.

It should also be noted that C401-2007 is silent on the time limit to bring claims because it is coordinated for use with our standard Owner-Architect agreements, such as B101-2007 or B103-2007. Section 8.1.1 of B101-2007 explicitly addresses the time limit on claims, stating that “The Owner and Architect shall commence all claims and causes of action … within the period specified by applicable law, but in any case not more than 10 years after the date of Substantial Completion of the Work.” As such, when C401 incorporates the prime agreement, it is not incorporating a document silent on the time limits of claims. Under our intended contracting scheme, C401-2007 incorporates an agreement with the above quoted language. Anytime someone uses an AIA Contract Document in conjunction with a document outside our coordinated set of agreements, they should pay extra close attention to how the differences in the non-AIA Contract Document will impact the AIA Contract Document. As is always the case, users should consult with a local attorney to ensure that the agreement fits their particular needs and circumstances.

Posted in Advocacy News

Why Communities Need Design Thinking

An article from AIA …

An architect and Ohio councilperson explains why design professionals should strive to become community leaders, along with emphasizing the value in joining the Citizen Architect program.


Posted in Advocacy News

Membership News

Professional Development News

Government Advocacy News

  • Good Golly Miss Mod-dy!

    Kenney Payne’s explanation of Mods. Otherwise, known as code modifications as found in the 2012 Virginia Construction Code Section 106.3.

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.