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      American Institute of Architects (AIA) Files Comments Opposing Small Business Administration’s Proposed Size Standards

      Effect on Small Architecture Firms Would Be “Devastating,” Warns AIA

      Contact: John Schneidawind

      For immediate release:
      Washington, D.C. – June 14, 2011 –
      The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today filed comments with the Small Business Administration (SBA) opposing the SBA’s proposal to increase the number of businesses that qualify as a small business, stating that the new standard will be “devastating” to the architecture profession.

      “The AIA strongly opposes the proposed rule and asks that the SBA not change the current $4.5 million standard until there are further discussions regarding the appropriate size standard,” said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, in the filing. “The effect on small architecture businesses would be devastating, because the competition from medium and large firms would decimate any competitive advantage that small firms have in the federal marketplace.”

      The SBA currently uses the $4.5 million (in annual receipts) size standard to help determine which small businesses qualify under its set aside program, under which some $190 billion of the $700 billion in contracts the federal government issues each year goes to firms who qualify as small businesses. The SBA is now proposing to raise the size standard to $19 million in annual receipts.

      “For our members, the AIA estimates that over 91 percent of architecture firms fall under the current $4.5 million standard,” Ivy said. “If the standard is raised to $19 million, over 97 percent of firms will qualify as a small business.”

      The SBA proposal lumps architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture and mapping into the same $19 million bucket. The effect of the SBA proposal is to have large architectural firms who have a variety of disciplines qualify for small business benefits. However, the AIA states that such aggregated firms do not represent the current state of small architecture firms, 80 percent of which have 10 or fewer employees.

      “We would like to work with the SBA to explore other possibilities so that the small business standard covers truly small businesses,” Ivy said.

      About The American Institute of Architects

      For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


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