Advocacy on the Boards | November 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 November and continues to monitor and pursue.

Building Codes

Change is Coming | AIA PA Update on UCC & Accessibility Code Changes

REGISTER NOW: Join AIA Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Nov. 30, as we hear from Matthew Kegg, Director of the Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety with L&I, James Mehaffey, AIA, AIA PA Building Codes Subcommittee Chair, and Chuck Parker, AIA, Building Codes Subcommittee member on the changes coming to building codes and ANSI standards in Pennsylvania.

Implementation Dates

The implementation date of the 2018 ICC Codes is February 14, 2021. There will be a 6 month grace period in effect for those that have contracts signed prior to February 14th and apply for a permit within 6 months of the effective date.

The implementation of Chapter 11 of the IBC, the Accessibility Codes, is January 1, 2022. This will be the first year that PA Adopts Chapter 11 of IBC 2021which references the 2017 ICC/ANSI. There will be a 6 month grace period for contracts signed prior to January 1, 2022 and permits must be applied for prior to June 30, 2022.

Housing and Community Development

Shaking up Small Cities & House Urban Affairs Committee

Shaking Up Small Cities: Conversations about repurposing, remodeling, and repositioning Pennsylvania’s communities. If you were not able to attend or did not receive the recordings of either session they can be viewed on the AIA Pennsylvania YouTube Channel. Both sessions are linked below.

Session 1: October 7, 2021, Featuring Lancaster, Bethlehem, and Easton

Session 2: October 28, 2021, Featuring Pittston, Wilkes-Barre, Altoona, and Oil City. 

AIA Pennsylvania will be presenting a lunch and learn to the House Urban Affairs Committee on December 13, 2021 to discuss the architect’s role in Housing and Community Development.

The Environment & High-Performance Building

C-PACE Program Enhancements Bill Passes in Senate Committee

As reported at the end of September, SB 635 (C-PACE Enhancements), one of AIA Pennsylvania’s key advocacy initiatives for District Days, passed the Senate Community, Economic, & Recreational Development Committee.

Proposed enhancements to the C-PACE program would expand eligibility to the following:

  • Multifamily commercial buildings of 5 or more units;
  • Indoor air improvements (e.g. COVID-19 mitigation);
  • Building resiliency improvements.

Advocate for a Reduction in the Statute of Repose

Senator Laughlin’s memo advocating for a reduction in the Statute of Repose for architects and engineers was introduced in August as SB 833 and is currently waiting for consideration in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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.