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AIA Advocacy: A Record of Success Standing up for Architects in Washington

Despite partisan gridlock, the AIA has succeeded in advancing its agenda in Washington, achieving real results that benefit architects and their clients. No matter which political party is in power, the AIA represents the credible voice of nearly 83,000 architects and allied professionals who work every day to design better buildings and communities Here are just a few of the AIA’s successes before Congress and the White House.

* Issues that were part of the AIA Grassroots Legislative and Leadership Conference agenda.




    *The AIA helps pass legislation providing funding for disaster recovery and preservation of damaged historic structures for the Katrina-ravaged Gulf Coast


    *The AIA leads the effort to get Congress to pass legislation that establishes aggressive energy-saving goals for federal building design

    The General Services Administration publishes the first site security design guide to integrate building security and design for government facilities with input from the AIA and others


    *The AIA and its coalition help ensure that the 179D energy efficient commercial building tax incentive is extended. The AIA also leads the effort to convince the IRS to issue rules that allow architects to claim the 179D deduction for energy-saving improvements to public buildings

    *The AIA and the National Trust for Historic Preservation see their four-year effort to pass legislation that promotes community revitalization and historic preservation enacted


    *The AIA leads the effort to ensure Congress provides needed funding for school construction and for public buildings

    The AIA and its allies help block a plan that would have lowered the threshold for employer-mandated health insurance on construction companies to those with 5 or more employees, when for all other industries the mandate was for those with 50 or more


    *The AIA’s effort to ensure the Architect of the Capitol remains a licensed architect is realized when the President nominates and the Senate confirms Stephen Ayers, AIA, as Architect

    *The AIA’s finally wins its four year battle to reform retainage rules that required federal agencies to hold 10 percent of an architect’s fee

    The AIA leads the effort to stop a payroll tax increase on small architecture firms

    *The AIA helps to enact legislation to provide more capital for small businesses

    The AIA and its allies help enact the Federal Personnel Training Act to help the federal workforce gain the skills needed to design, build and operate high performance buildings


    *The AIA and its allies successfully repeal the 1099 paperwork mandate and the three-percent withholding mandate

    The AIA and its allies succeed in keeping the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall

    The AIA successfully gets the GSA to abandon plans to impose a 19 percent fee on architects who claim the 179D deduction.

    The State Department launches its Design Excellence program for embassies based on a 2009 report and recommendations from the AIA

    The Department of Justice announces new Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) based on AIA recommendations, and adopts AIA recommendation to change phase-in from six months to 18

    The AIA helps restore funding to the Architect of the Capitol’s budget so that needed repairs to the Capitol dome could proceed


    The AIA succeeds in getting the SBA to abandon its proposal to raise the size standard for the architecture profession from $4.5 million to $19 million

    The AIA again blocked Congressional efforts to raise taxes on small architecture firms that organize as S corporations.

    *Congress passed and the President signed into law transportation legislation that promotes the planning and design of mixed-use development around transit stations, promoting livable communities and reflecting one of the key findings of AIA’s 2008 study Moving Communities Forward.


    The AIA leads a coalition of more than 1000 companies and associations to block efforts to repeal energy-savings goals for federal buildings.

    *A grassroots effort by AIA members leads to the introduction of H.R. 2750, the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act, bipartisan legislation that makes it easier for architects to enter the procurement marketplace.

    The AIA successfully advocates to the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules that will make it easier for building projects to be crowdfunded.


    *The AIA leads a coalition to get legislation passed by the Senate Finance Committee that extends and improves the 179D energy efficient commercial building tax deduction.

    *A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduces H.R. 4205, the National Design Services Act, legislation developed by the AIA and the American Institute of Architecture Students to provide student debt relief to architecture graduates in exchange for community service.

    *The U.S. House passes the AIA-backed Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act as part of the annual defense bill, improving the contracting process for architecture firms.


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