Introducing “Advocacy On the Boards,” a monthly update from the AIA Pennsylvania Government Affairs Team to inform members of the great work “on the boards” to ensure architects are at the policymaker’s table to affect positive and equitable social, environmental, and economic outcomes for the profession and the commonwealth. This work includes lobbying state lawmakers, their staff, and other government officials and agencies to provide architects’ guidance on policies that impact the built environment and, in turn, the health, safety, and welfare of all Pennsylvanians. AIA Pennsylvania members’ technical expertise and experience are critical to the priority issues as charted by the Government Affairs team and informed by the membership’s feedback each two-year legislative session cycle.
Learn more about two issues moving through the legislative process that AIA Pennsylvania has been working on throughout March. They are on track to progress from their infancy in co-sponsor memo form to their next stop – tagged with a bill number.
Mitigating COVID-19 Transmission & Energy-Efficient Multifamily Buildings with Expansion of the C-PACE program
Act 30 of 2018 established the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program. This innovative financing program provides business property owners access to low-interest, long-term loans for clean energy and clean water projects repaid as property tax to benefit the community. Currently, owners of existing or new properties zoned commercial, industrial, and agricultural are eligible for C-PACE financing.
Buildings produce nearly 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. While we’ve made great strides to improve the building sector’s energy efficiency, too many existing buildings remain inefficient.
Proposed enhancements to the C-PACE program would expand eligibility to the following:
– Multi-family commercial buildings of 10 or more units; and
– Indoor air improvements (e.g., COVID-19 mitigation).
These are timely measures in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and wide-spread economic hardship. New multi-family buildings, like senior living centers, are among the fastest-growing commercial real estate sectors in Pennsylvania, so expanding the program to include them will infuse our economy with much-needed capital.
> For Senators: Co-Sponsor the memo introduced on 3/25/21 by Senator John T. Yudichak* to expand the C-PACE Program to encourage in-demand multi-family development, healthier environments that mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and boost the commonwealth’s economies.
*Please disregard the Co-Sponsor memo mentioned on page 5 of the Architects Tele-Action Day Blueprint. The Co-Sponsor memo introduced by Senator Yudichak is the up-to-date memo.
STATUTE OF REPOSE
Limiting Unjust Liability
Architects, engineers, and contractors practicing in the commonwealth face a substantial degree of liability exposure for property damages and other construction claims. Without legislation to protect design professionals from unlimited liability, it might be possible to sue an architect for an injury suffered in or around a building designed twelve years prior. Even when the injury results from improper maintenance, accomplished renovations since the building was put into commission or other causes beyond the architect’s control.
The Statute of Repose in Pennsylvania is 12 years for construction projects. Pennsylvania is currently one of only six states to exceed a 10-year term for a statute of repose. Often, after six years, issues that arise from completed projects are due more to the owner’s and tenant’s failure to maintain the property rather than faulty design.
> For Senators: Co-sponsor the memo circulated by Senator Laughlin on 12/1/20 to reduce the Statute of Repose in PA to 6 years to be in line with nationwide legislative and industry standards.