Testimony – 2017 Wisconsin Assembly Bill 675

Martzke and Lawson testify at Hearing for AB 675

Paul Martzke, AIA, and Eric Lawson, AIA, testify at AB 675 Hearing

As chair of the AIA/DFDM Liaison Committee, I testified, on December 20, 2017, on behalf of AIA Wisconsin, the state society of the American Institute of Architects, in support of 2017 Assembly Bill 675. My testimony follows...

"Thank you for the opportunity to comment on proposed legislation that would adjust dollar thresholds for the state building program and establish statutory provisions for the selection of architects and engineers for state building projects.

The proposed legislation would update various dollar thresholds to reflect modern construction costs for state buildings. This would help streamline the review and approval process. The positive outcome would be the potential to shorten the timeline for state building projects.

AIA Wisconsin supports the proposal to establish in statute the process for selecting architects and engineers for state building projects. The legislation contains provisions for a selection committee and use of a request-for-proposal process when the estimated cost of a construction project is $7.4 million or more.

The increase proposed is from the current $5 million threshold. This increase makes sense and updates the threshold for inflation. Because of the increase in costs of construction, a $7.4 million building project today is comparable in scope and complexity to a $5 million project in 2006.

The majority of projects below the proposed threshold are remodeling projects and not new building construction. It is important to protect our investment in state facilities located in communities and on campuses across Wisconsin. While designed and constructed to withstand hard use and the test of time, many state facilities are showing their age and require significant repairs and renovation to function and operate efficiently. The proposed legislation would reduce the time required for architectural and engineering selection and help the state address a growing backlog of maintenance and repair projects.

The current competitive process for selecting architects and engineers is outlined in ADM 20 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code. Architects and engineers invest a significant amount of time and resources in responding to a request for proposal and preparing for an interview for a state building project. A project needs to be of sufficient size to justify such an investment.

A higher threshold would provide a number of potential benefits, including: a simpler selection process for the state as well as for architects and engineers; greater interest from architects and engineers due to reduced complexity and cost in pursuing these projects; and time savings in the procurement and selection of architectural and engineering services, helping to expedite the design and construction of state facilities.

Founded in 1911, AIA Wisconsin represents over 1,400 individual members, including architects in private practice, business, industry, government and education. AIA Wisconsin supports a selection process for architects based on qualifications.

Thank you for your consideration of our support for Assembly 675."

In addition to my testimony, Paul Martzke, AIA, testified on behalf of AGC of Wisconsin.

Image credits

Martzke and Lawson testify at Hearing for AB 675

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