Early Advocacy Victory Benefiting Firms Who Design Schools

During the 2019 General Assembly, AIA Virginia worked closely with legislators on a bill for school safety that would require every new public school building or renovation to have its plans and specifications reviewed by an individual or entity with professional expertise in building security and crime prevention through building design elements. The law went into effect on July 1, and it was initially, the Department of Education’s intention to make the design professional certify this review. This certification requirement would have created significant risk management and liability concerns for our members. Architecture can deter crime, but can’t stop a mentally ill individual from carrying out a heinous act of violence at a school. In fact, the best solutions require a combination of design and non-design related elements (ex: counselor to student ratios). AIA Virginia successfully worked with the Department of Education to not make it a requirement to have the design professional certify this review. Instead, our organization has offered to work with the Department in helping shape the policy to execute the new law.