Practicing ArchitectureArchitect's Knowledge Resource
Through pro bono services, architects use their skills to help their communities. The AIA offers a suite of tools for effective decision-making when considering pro bono work.
The AIA’s suite of tools about pro bono services includes:
The AIA encourages all of its members, their firms, and state and local components to engage in providing pro bono services as part their contributions to the highest aspirations of the architecture profession and the Institute in service to society. These guidelines have been written with the expressed intention of providing encouragement, guidance, and recommendations for the management of the provision of pro bono services by members of the Institute, firms, and AIA components who are presently, or contemplating becoming, engaged in providing such services. They also provide guidance in evaluating when these services are deemed in the best interest of the architect, firm, or AIA component, as well as their community clients.
AIA Document B106™–2010 is a new standard form of agreement between owner and architect for building design, construction contract administration, or other professional services provided on a pro bono basis. The architect’s pro bono services are professional services for which the architect receives no financial compensation other than compensation for reimbursable expenses. A table format is provided which the parties use to designate the scope of the architect’s pro bono services and the maximum number of hours to be provided by the architect for each designated pro bono service. If the architect is providing construction phase services, B106–2010 is intended to be used in conjunction with AIA Document A201™–2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, which it incorporates by reference. NOTE: B106–2010 is not available in print, but is available in AIA Contract Documents® software and free of charge from AIA Documents on Demand®.
The rewards of pro bono services can include a show of goodwill in the community and leads to future commissions if executed appropriately.
• Is the requesting organization a viable not-for-profit operation?
• Is the need for a design, construction services, or graphics for promotion purposes?
• Is the need oriented toward general materials and methods, or toward a particular system?
• What is the time frame for the project? Is this reasonable given the “free” nature of the work?
• Are life safety issues involved?
• Are there laws in your state/jurisdiction pertaining to pro bono work?
• Does your insurance carrier need to be informed of the effort?
• Are tax write-offs available?
• Will the project be properly stewarded?
• Are there competing interests?
• Can the goodwill from the project be leveraged?
• How long are you willing to stay involved with the project?
(checklist by Richard L. Hayes, PhD, CAE, AIA; originally published in AIArchitect, December 1999, p. 17)
In May 2011, AIA Austin’s Design Voice held a design charrette (images below) to address the changing environment of an aging apartment building. Design Voice enables the greater design community to connect and collaborate with organizations and individuals interested in and engaged in housing advocacy, development and community building in Austin. To learn more, visit Design Voice and their Facebook page.
(image credit: Ellen Hunt, AIA)
Beginning in December 2011, the AIA and Public Architecture will encourage AIA members to pledge to The 1%, a nationwide program of Public Architecture that challenges architecture and design firms to commit to a minimum of 1% of their time to pro bono service and facilitates a matching service to connect firms with non-profits seeking pro bono design services.
(image credit: Amy Ress, Public Architecture)
Pro Bono Services: Improving the Profession (AIA Best Practice)
Pro Bono Risk Management (AIA Best Practice)