2019 State Legislative Agenda

WI State Capitol Building

AIA Wisconsin, the state society of the American Institute of Architects, supports state policies that protect the health and safety of the public, encourage sustainable economic development, strengthen the design and construction industry, and improve the quality of life across the state.

AIA Wisconsin members are helping Wisconsin build for the future.  Wisconsin architects collaborate with community leaders to revitalize neighborhoods, improve public facilities and support greater resiliency.

With over 1,500 individual members, AIA Wisconsin represents architects in private practice, business, industry, government and education.  Member architects are interested in the following issues that may be considered during the 2019-20 session of the Wisconsin Legislature.

  • State Building Program – AIA Wisconsin supports a capital budget for the biennium that provides adequate funding for the state building program, including repairs, remodeling and new construction.  Now is the time to protect our investment in state building facilities located in communities and on campuses across the state.
  • Architect Selection – AIA Wisconsin supports the use of a qualifications-based selection (QBS) process for procuring architectural services for public building projects, including state agency, UW System, local government and school district facilities.
  • School Safety – Architects are key partners in making schools safer by design.  Many security measures can be integrated into design solutions to not only increase safety, but also contribute to a positive learning environment.  AIA Wisconsin supports allowing school districts to use school safety grants for architectural design services to address today’s security concerns.
  • Building Codes – AIA Wisconsin supports contemporary state building codes that are developed with the active participation of architects on the Commercial Building Code Council.
  • Resiliency – AIA Wisconsin supports state policies that promote sustainable communities, durable infrastructure systems and high-performance buildings.  Architects play a vital role in pre-disaster planning and support efforts to encourage resilient environments that can absorb and recover from adverse events.  
  • Housing – Architects understand the challenges of providing safe, healthy and sustainable housing for all.  AIA Wisconsin supports state policies and programs to promote the design, construction, renovation, rehabilitation, preservation and stabilization of affordable housing within the means of all people.
  • Professional Licensing – AIA Wisconsin supports state licensing of architects to protect public health, safety and welfare.  Architects are licensed by every state.  Wisconsin has regulated the practice of architecture since 1917.  
  • State Taxes – Architects support a state tax code that is fair and predictable.  AIA Wisconsin opposes proposals to expand the sales tax to architectural and other professional services because of the adverse effect on small businesses and efforts to grow the state’s economy.

Please contact AIA Wisconsin for more information on these and other issues of interest to AIA Wisconsin members and the state’s design and construction industry.

AIA Wisconsin supports state initiatives to encourage economic development. Member architects collaborate with state and local leaders to revitalize communities, improve public facilities, enhance school safety, create affordable housing, save energy and position our state for sustainable growth.  

Architects are small businesses on the leading edge of the state’s building industry. When architects are busy it is a reliable early indicator of future construction and related economic activity. It is important for Wisconsin to continue building for the future by taking appropriate steps to support the state’s creative economy, jump start the market for retrofitting existing buildings to reduce energy costs and advance policies that address housing and other infrastructure needs.

Investing in the state building program provides a direct stimulus to Wisconsin’s economy. The state is the largest building owner in Wisconsin, with over 6,500 buildings and a significant backlog of repair and maintenance needs. While designed to withstand hard use, about a quarter of state buildings are at the age where they require significant repairs and renovations to function adequately and increase energy efficiency. These projects offer an attractive return on investment that begins when an architect is selected to design a state building.

Architects play a vital role in planning vibrant and resilient communities with code-compliant buildings, safer schools by design, energy-efficient facilities, historic structures and quality housing for all.

The AIA is leading efforts to update school design guidelines and enhance student safety by making safe school design eligible for federal grants and establishing a national clearinghouse on school design.

State building codes need to be comprehensive, coordinated and contemporary.  It is important that the code development process involves the active participation of architects, incorporates the latest research, prevents favoritism or bias to any special interest, insures that code requirements are cost-effective in relation to public benefit, and promotes building code provisions that set performance rather than prescriptive standards. AIA Wisconsin supports the appointment of architects to the Commercial Building Code Council to help develop recommendations for updating state building code requirements.

Architects are licensed in all 50 states to protect public health, safety and welfare, with each state establishing minimum education, experience and examination requirements. AIA Wisconsin supports state regulation and licensing of architects.  The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards facilitates reciprocity and the ability of architects to practice in other states.  

Proposals to expand the state sales tax to architectural and other professional and business services would adversely affect attempts to grow the state’s economy .Such a state sales tax increase would place Wisconsin firms at a competitive disadvantage, impede economic activity by increasing front-end development costs, hit small businesses the hardest, and create significant administrative and compliance problems.

AIA Wisconsin supports the state historic tax credits program. This effective incentive encourages the rehabilitation of historic buildings and the redevelopment of local communities, creating new jobs and economic opportunities.

Image credits

WI State Capitol Building

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