Advocacy On the Boards | May 2021

“Advocacy On the Boards” is a monthly update from the AIA Pennsylvania Government Affairs Team to inform members of the great work “on the boards” ensuring 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.

Get the latest on the issues moving through the legislative process that AIA Pennsylvania worked on throughout April and continues to monitor and pursue.

On the Boards | Building Codes

Preview Pennsylvania’s Forthcoming Building Codes
As reported in April’s “Advocacy on the Boards” update, the UCC Review & Advisory Council (RAC) has completed its review of the 2018 International Code Council (ICC) Codes, in line with a 4.5-year cycle which includes an opt-in voting process. 

The final report, including a list of the codes and modifications to the published 2018 ICC Codes has been submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry. The department has nine months to promulgate the regulations (new codes). With that, the anticipated new codes will tentatively be implemented around January of 2022. 

Preview the new codes >

AIA Pennsylvania Invited to Testify on the Uniform Construction Code
As a recognized authority on the code, AIA Pennsylvania represents the architects’ steadfast commitment to the welfare of building occupants in Pennsylvania. A credit to the advocacy and expertise of AIA Pennsylvania’s members and Government Affairs Professionals, we were invited to testify and give an overview of the Uniform Construction Code in front of the House Labor and Industry Subcommittee on Workers Compensation and Worker Protection on Thursday, May 27. Watch the testimony live at 11 AM EST.

On the Boards | Legal Reform

Action STILL NEEDED to Reduce the Statute of Repose
As stewards of the health, safety, and welfare of building occupants, architects rightly assume liability for their work. However, there is a need to define a period of time after which the architect cannot be held liable for personal injury or injury to property. AIA Pennsylvania believes that this time period should end when the architect no longer has an influence on the property. 

Without legislation to protect design professionals from unlimited liability, it might be possible for an architect to be sued for an injury suffered in or around a building that was designed many years prior, even when the injury is a result of improper maintenance, accomplished renovations since the building was put into commission, or other causes beyond the architect’s control.

If you have not done so already, please contact your State Senator and ask them to co-sponsor Senator Laughlin’s legislation that would shorten the statute of repose for design in Pennsylvania from 12 years to 6 years. Currently, Pennsylvania’s statute of repose for construction is among the highest in the nation. The national industry is trending toward a shorter statute of repose for construction averaging around 6 years.

take action >

On the Boards | Federal Recovery Funding

Allocating Investment in Pennsylvania
More than $7 billion in relief funding from the federal American Rescue Plan is on its way to Pennsylvania. As the PLS Reporter details, Senate (plan linked here) and House (plan linked here) Democrats have released proposals in accordance with guidance issued from the Treasury and ahead of budget negotiations with the Republican majority, kicking off in June.

AIA Pennsylvania will be closely monitoring these negotiations to weigh in on areas of interest and impact to the profession and Pennsylvania’s built environment including infrastructure, toxic school remediation, environmental protection/clean energy, affordable housing, and small-business assistance. 

On the Boards | Pennsylvania’s Primary Re-Caps

Early this month, primaries were held across the state. Read on for the highlights including four new legislators and mayoral primary results. Congratulations to all candidates! 

Special State Legislative Elections
Four special elections have been called to fill vacant seats in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Pennsylvania State Senate District 22 | Lackawanna County, parts of Luzerne County/Monroe County
Senator-elect Martin Flynn (D)

Pennsylvania State Senate District 48 | Lebanon County, parts of Dauphin County/York County
Senator-elect Chris Gebhard (R)

Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 59 | Somerset County/Westmoreland County
Representative-elect Leslie Baum Rossi (R)

Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 60 | Armstrong County, Butler County, and Indiana County
Representative-elect Abby Major (R)

Mayoral Primaries
Representative Edward Gainey (D) defeated incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto (D) to become the Democratic nominee for Pittsburgh Mayor. Unless write-in candidate and fellow Democratic primary candidate, Tony Moreno, accepts the Republican nomination, Gainey will run unopposed in the general election. NEXT Pittsburgh reports Gainey became the first challenger to unseat an incumbent Pittsburgh mayor since 1933 and is on course to become Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor in January 2022.

Wanda Williams (D) defeated incumbent Mayor Eric Papenfuse (D) and will most likely face Timothy Rowbottom (R) in the general election for Harrisburg’s mayor pending any write-in votes.

Ballot Measures
Four ballot measures were presented to voters statewide. Voters approved two constitutional amendments on the governor’s emergency powers. Read more on Ballotpedia.