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The Angle

April 22, 2010

Ayers Nomination Moves Forward, Redesigning Embassies Abroad, 2010 Convention Preview, and more

 

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Architect Nominee Ayers Gets Warm Reception in Senate Committee

   

Stephen Ayers, AIA, was uniformly praised by members of the Senate Rules Committee at his Architect of the Capitol conformation hearing April 15, with senators of both parties predicting quick action.

Ayers, who has served as the acting Architect of the Capitol since 2007, was nominated by President Obama in February to serve a 10-year term as Architect. If confirmed, Ayers would be responsible for the design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of the U.S. Capitol and its surrounding grounds.

Rules Committee chair Charles Schumer (D-NY) opened the hearing by noting the “rigorous bipartisan selection process” that led to Ayers’ nomination, saying that he has “had wide acclaim” and that “[j]ust about everybody has wanted to see him become Architect.”

Ranking Member Robert Bennett (R-UT) echoed Schumer’s remarks, saying that Ayers has been a “steadying influence” in the job during the three-year selection process, and joking that “and it’s only fitting now that [Ayers] continue for another 10 years so that when the plumbing starts to leak, he will know where to go to fix it.”

The AIA endorsed the nomination, stating that “Mr. Ayers’ experience in facilities management, his natural leadership abilities, and the skills he brings through his education and licensure as an architect, all contribute to his proven ability to serve the United State Congress – and by extension the nation – as steward of the U.S. Capitol and its grounds and facilities.”

The next step is for the Rules Committee to vote on the nomination, followed by action by the full Senate. The Committee has not set a date for a vote, but Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) said it will be in a “timely manner.”

 

Federal Government Takes On AIA Call for Embassy Design Excellence Program

   

The AIA’s effort to advance design excellence in the nation’s embassy program bore fruit last week as the State Department unveiled a set of guidelines that will serve as a basis for the development of a design excellence program for U.S. embassies, similar to an existing program at the General Services Administration. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) also introduced legislation (the Embassy Design and Security Act [S. 3210]), which authorizes the establishment of this program; creates a Diplomatic Facilities Task Force to review existing security guidelines/regulations; and establishes a Design Advisory Board to advise the Department of State on design standards and review the current embassy design template.

Both the State Department and Senator Kerry cited the AIA’s report, Design for Diplomacy: Embassy Design for the 21st Century, as the catalyst for this initiative. The report made a series of recommendations, including the development of a design excellence program, to elevate design as a primary embassy function and to integrate it with security.

The AIA commended both the State Department and the Senate sponsors of the bill for their leadership in adopting the AIA report’s recommendations.

 

AIA Tells Congress to Expand Green Building Tax Deduction

   

As Congress continues to debate jobs legislation, the AIA helped lead a coalition of more than 80 organizations and companies in support of expanding the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction. The coalition is asking Congress to increase the deduction from its current $1.80 per square foot to $3.00 per square foot.

The coalition sent a letter, drafted by the AIA and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), to lawmakers last week. The letter states that the incentive “has leveraged billions of dollars in private capital, in turn leading to the energy efficient construction or renovation of thousands of buildings across the country, and creating or preserving hundreds of thousands of jobs in the process.”

To send a message to your member of Congress to support expanding the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction, click here.

In addition, the AIA is asking the House Financial Services Committee to approve legislation that will create as many as 140,000 jobs in the design and construction sector annually through incentives for green housing. The Green Resources for Energy Efficient Neighborhoods (GREEN) Act (HR 2336), introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Judy Biggert (R-IL), is being debated today in the Committee.

 

    Read the coalition letter to Congress.

    Click here for more information on the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction.

    AIA study shows GREEN Act will create up to 140,000 jobs in the building industry.

Citizen Architect Gains City Council Seat

   


On April 20, AIA member Dave Oberbeck, AIA, was sworn in as a member of the Wausau, Wisconsin City Council. Oberbeck, a long-time AIA member and past president of the AIA’s Northwest Wisconsin component, is principal at Oberbeck Architecture, LLC.

For the recent City Council election, Oberbeck’s campaign focused on using development to boost the local economy and lower taxes. He is an advocate for increased park space and the expansion of biking and walking paths. While in office, he plans to promote AIA initiatives on strengthening neighborhoods.

“As a citizen architect, I will have the opportunity to facilitate and guide the initiatives that are designed to improve our community,” he said.

Oberbeck’s career in civic engagement began in 2002, when he was appointed to Wausau’s Historical Preservation Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, and Building Advisory Board.

 

    For more information on the AIA’s Citizen Architect program, click here.

IgCC First Comment Deadline is May 1

   

Public Version 1.0 of the International Green Construction Code was released in March. AIA members are strongly encouraged to review the IgCC and offer comments on the code at www.aia.org/igcc. Comments are due by May 1 and will be reviewed and considered by the AIA Codes and Standards Advisory Group and the Committee on the Environment for possible inclusion in the AIA’s formal response to the International Code Council’s code development process.

 

    For more information, contact Mark Wills, manager, State Relations.

Citizen Architect Exchange & Civic Engagement Reception

   

The Citizen Architect Exchange will be held on Wednesday, June 9. The Exchange is a forum for networking with other advocacy-minded and civically-engaged members to explore the development and employment of design and leadership skills in the public arena.  The agenda will include a keynote speaker, break-out sessions, and a panel discussion focused on how components can develop Citizen Architect programs; we can engage emerging professionals and students further in advocacy efforts; and architects can positively affect the community through civic engagement.

The Exchange is a pre-Convention event taking place at the Convention Center between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with the reception at the nearby Shore Club between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

 

    For more information on the Citizen Architect Exchange, contact Brooks Rainwater, director, Local Relations. 

The Federal Agency Connection

   

The federal government spends more than $3 billion each year on design and construction services across the country and around the world, representing a largely untapped market for many architects. During this particularly difficult economic downturn, more and more architects have been turning to public sector clients to find work. Unfortunately, the process of procuring projects can be arduous and confusing. Join us at the Federal Agency Connection (FAC) at the 2010 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Miami (June 10-12) to learn how you can work with the federal government.

Key federal agency personnel from seven agencies will be on hand to talk to architects one-on-one and to answer any questions concerning rules, procedures and forms. In addition, the FAC will offer a series of courses (all available for CES credit) educating architects about various federal programs.

Agencies hosting a booth include:

    • U.S. General Services Administration

    • Naval Facilities Engineering Command

    • U.S. Air Force

    • U.S. Small Business Administration

    • U.S. Department of State

    • U.S. Postal Service

    • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

To view the Federal Agency Connection course schedule, click here.

 

    Contact Billie Kaumaya, manager, Federal Relations, for more information.

Disaster Assistance Training

   

Much attention has recently been given to the valuable role that the architectural profession plays in responding to natural disasters. However, it is not enough to react and respond to these crises; preparedness is essential. At the AIA National Convention in Miami, attendees will have the opportunity to be trained and accredited in building damage assessment in the session AIA Disaster Assistance Program: A Comprehensive Training.

The Safety Assessment Program (SAP) curriculum was developed by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CA OES). It accepts civil, structural, geotechnical, and architectural licenses from any state, along with many ICC building inspector certifications. The program works in compliance with national disaster management protocols, including ICS, SEMS, and NIMS.

To register, visit the Convention website.

 

    For more information about this session, contact Cooper Martin, manager, Federal Research and Policy Development.

The Angle Archive:

The Angle is published by the AIA Government Advocacy Team, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20006. To contact The Angle, send an email to govaffs@aia.org.

 

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