Updates from AIA's Disaster Assistance Program

This page will be updated as conditions change - Last updated December 14, 2017

California fires

In this unusually extended wildfire season, more than 5,400 structures have been damaged or destroyed in California impacting many members and firms. To aid the response effort, architects in California are evaluating structures for viability of re-entry throughout Napa and Sonoma counties. To date, more than 300 detailed structural assessments have been completed.

Members of AIA Redwood Empire are also engaging in recovery through the recently established Firestorm Recovery Committee. Chapters near the affected area have also developed and staffed Local Assistance Centers to provide resources and information to hundreds of displaced residents.

AIA California Council fund to support rebuilding efforts

AIA California Council has established a fund to support the rebuilding efforts using a text message-based donation.

In order to donate, follow these steps:

  • Open a new text message to the number 41444.  
  • In the message body, type CAFIRES, a space, and the dollar amount you want to give. Example:  CAFIRES 100.  
  • After you “send,” you will receive a text message with a link that you can click to fulfill your pledge by entering your credit card info.  (All donations are tax deductible.)

The State of California’s Office of Emergency Services website contains resources on fire information, air quality, updates on evacuation centers and shelters, including shelters for animals and pets, volunteer opportunities and donation needs. Learn more >

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria

It has been a wicked hurricane season. In addition to significant damage to buildings throughout the affected areas, loss of power and cell service has made it very difficult to connect with members and coordinate disaster response on the islands.  “Emergency” AIA Safety Assessment Program training has been conducted throughout Texas, Miami, and Georgia and more to come in Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Louisiana in the next month.

Register for a Safety Assessment Program training in your area >

Get involved:  How to respond to the disasters

How to help those impacted

We encourage you to donate funds to a trusted organization, so that the most important resources get to those in need.  A few options:

United for Puerto Rico by Puerto Rico’s First Lady, Beatriz Rossello

Donate >

One America Appeal organized for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria by the five living former U.S. Presidents

Donate >

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands – USVI Recovery fund

Donate >

How to help our members: donate to rebuild Architecture Center Houston

AIA Houston’s offices experienced more than 4 feet of flooding. In addition, the new Architecture Center Houston was within three weeks of completion when the storm hit and flood mitigation was not yet fully installed.  The risk policy carried by the contractor will cover some of the costs, but has a $250,000 deductible.  Architecture Center Houston could use your help.  All donations will be acknowledged on a special donor wall and are tax deductible.

Donate to the Architecture Center Houston >


At this time, we do not have member volunteer opportunities to assist with the wildfires and hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria. Contact the voluntary organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) for other ways to engage.  Learn more >

Information for firms, members, and your clients

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Disaster Help Desk for Business to navigate the recovery process. Learn more >
  • Residents and business owners in designated areas who sustained damage should apply for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.Gov. Register here >
  • The FEMA mobile app for directions to open shelters and weather alerts. Download >
  • FEMA - Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) and Rental Assistance Learn more >
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - FEMA Operation Blue Roof Learn more >​
  • Small businesses can contract with the federal government to assist in relief and recovery efforts following a major disaster. Learn more >
  • Loans from the Small Business Administration Learn more >

Repair, Rebuild and Plan for Resilience

The AIA Disaster Assistance program has compiled a short list of hazard mitigation resources for design and reconstruction, for all types of hazards. Incorporate hazard mitigation strategies >

As rebuilding and reconstruction efforts begin in areas affected by recent disasters, consider rebuilding with resilience in mind.  Is it a home in an area that experiences hurricanes, hail or high winds? For existing houses or re-roofing projects consider incorporating a standard such as Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) FORTIFIED Home.  This standard helps to strengthen existing single-family homes using a systems-based method for creating stronger, safer homes which can fortify a home for the next time disaster strikes. Learn about FORTIFIED >

Firms and businesses should prepare in advance of wildfires, hurricanes and floods to prevent loss of life, property or disruption to operations.  Businesses can review and update their business continuity plans and ensure their staff knows what to do before, during and after the hazard event.  Prepare your firm >

Providing pro bono services post-disaster

Disaster relief and rebuilding efforts often present opportunities for architects to provide pro bono services. Of course, as with every professional endeavor, it is important that the nature and scope of any Pro Bono Services, and the terms governing those services, be memorialized in writing.

We publish an Owner-Architect agreement,  AIA Contract Document® B106™– 2010, Standard form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for Pro Bono Services and is a 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. 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 available in AIA Contract Document® software, but not in paper. An interactive B106 form is available free of charge from AIA Document on Demand®.

There are responsibilities and risks associated with professional services rendered on a pro bono basis. In order to fully understand those responsibilities and risks, in addition to reviewing the suite of tools on our website, practitioners should consider discussing any pro bono services with their firm leadership, insurance providers, and legal counsel.

Download standard form >

Architects as stewards of public health and safety

Architects can use their building knowledge to help their communities both before and after a disaster. AIA's Disaster Assistance Program supports Components and equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally in leadership and volunteer roles.

Join the national AIA Resilience Network

The AIA Resilience Network is a virtual member forum focusing on topics of hazard mitigation, disaster assistance, climate adaptation and resilience.  Network members share knowledge, news, research and events and based on your interest and expertise, AIA matches members with opportunities to participate in conferences or panel presentations. Resilience is a systems-based approach to addressing shocks and stresses, and it requires a variety of perspectives, skills and experience.

Join now >

Learn about the important role of architects in disasters

Want to prepare for the hazards in your own back yard and be ready to respond as a “citizen architect” to help your community recover from a hazard event?  Connect with your local or state AIA chapter to inquire about your state’s disaster assistance program. A directory of chapter committees can be found in the Appendix of the 3rd Edition of the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook.  

Download the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook >

Disaster Assistance Program

The AIA Disaster Assistance Program supports chapters and equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally in leadership and volunteer roles.

Register for a Safety Assessment Program training in your area >

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