Category Archives: Testimony

Tacoma Architect, Peter Rasmussen, FAIA testifies on B&O Tax on Service Professions

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Tacoma architect Peter Rasmussen, FAIA testified on Friday, April 19 regarding the B&O tax on service professions, specifically citing the double-dipping of service taxes on primary service professionals and then their consultants. He was joined by AIA|WA Executive Director Stan Bowman, who also testified on the state of architectural design in Washington. Watch below:

Architects join together to protect Building Code Cycle (VIDEO)

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The Washington State building code is under attack.

Fortunately, Washington architects testified yesterday to protect the health, safety, and welfare–as well as promote sustainable design:

  • Mike Fowler, AIA, AIA|WA Codes & Planning Policy Committee Chair
  • Bill Sloane, AIA, MSGS Architects
  • Janet Knoblach, AIA, Morton Safford James III AIA Architects

They spoke before the House Local Government Committee against ESB 5378, which seeks to weaken the State’s energy by switching from a gradual, standardized three-year cycle to a costlier six-year cycle. Such a change would also mean Washington design and construction professionals aren’t as valuable on a national scale, since national building and energy codes follow a three-year cycle. Lastly, smaller, more frequent updates to code better prepare architects for the 2030 Challenge.

That’s the power of architects working together for the greater good:

    Local Architects testify before House Capital Budget Committee on High-Performance Buildings

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    “Process is as important as product,” Rep. Hans Dunshee (44th District) said, introducing a panel of expert testimony from the following local design & construction professionals:

    • Allyn Stellmacher, ZGF Architects
    • Todd Stine, ZGF Architects
    • Patrick Gordon, ZGF Architects
    • Jack Avery, Sellen Construction

    The purpose was two-fold: 1) demonstrate the benefits from high-performance design and 2) share why quality-based selection benefits both the private firms competing as well as the community served by their project.

    Take a look:

    ZGF and Sellen lent their expertise from designing and constructing the Federal Center South Building 1202 for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Goals that ZGF aimed for: LEED Gold Certification, 200k ft of reused lumber from a decommissioned warehouse, eliminate 61% of water baseline demand, exceed 2007 ASHRAE 90.1 by 40%, and achieve overall EUI of 20.3 KBTU/SF/YR.

    Another Bill Aims to Change the SBCC

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    The State Building Code Council (SBCC) continues to be under fire in the legislature. The AIA/WA testified on HB 2775, regarding membership on the state building code council, yesterday, Jan. 21 in the House Local Government & Housing Committee.

    Portions of the bill seek to change the appointment process for members of the SBCC. HB 2775 would make appointments subject to Senate confirmation. Currently members are appointed by the Governor with no confirmation procedure. Subjecting volunteers to confirmation could deter qualified and necessary people from serving on the SBCC.

    HB 2775 would also put restriction on board members appointed to represent a specific sector, if they are not longer employed in that sector. This element of the bill is supported by the AIA/WA as it will ensure that SBCC members are appropriately knowledgeable for their sector.

    You can see the AIA/WA testimony below.

    AIA|WA Opposes Move of SBCC to Labor and Industries

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    The AIA/WA testified in the House Community, Economic Development, Trade Committee today, Jan. 20, regarding HB 2658. Section eight of HB 2658 proposes to move the State Building Code Council (SBCC) to the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

    Primarily, the AIA/WA opposes the move because there is a conflict between the function of L&I and the role of the SBCC. The SBCC does not conduct any enforcement activities. Whereas, L&I is enforcement oriented. In order to be effective the SBCC must combine divergent views to create codes that are proper, safe and able to be implemented; this requires independence from enforcement.

    The AIA/WA is also opposed because this transfer is unnecessary to save funds and could be greatly disruptive. The SBCC is self-funded through fees so this move has no fiscal impact. Currently, the SBCC is successful in the Department of Commerce, especially in regard to the synergy it has created with energy efficiency programs.

    This was not a shift that was determined by a stakeholder process, unlike other changes suggested in the legislation. You can see testimony by AIA/WA Executive Director, Stan Bowman, below.

    AIA/WA Testifies on a New Bond Bill

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    Rep. Hans Dunshee introduced a new bond bill, HB 2334, to fund higher education and elementary and secondary education projects. The bill focuses on “funding construction of safety, health, and energy-saving improvements to public facilities.” In addition, the bill says that “energy efficiency projects shall take priority” for funding.

    AIA/WA testified in support of the goals of this legislation today the House Capital Budget Committee. Video of the testimony will be available here soon. For now you can listen to testimony by clicking below.

    The money and purposes of projects in this legislation are certainly needed. The proposed state budget transfers $750 million out of the Capital budget and into the operating budget. That is creating a significant long-term problem for capital projects.

    The AIA/WA also has a few concerns namely: accountability provisions in the bill and the section on “performance based contracting.”

    The legislation supplies funds for building regardless of demonstrated value or worthiness of projects. Further, the bill does not ensure that institutions taking these funds, and making improvements, have a long term master plans for the buildings that will keep them from building inadequate facilities that they can’t alter cost effectively for a long time.

    In summary, the design and construction monies in this bill are needed. Saving energy and improving health and safety are worthy endeavors. But, they are just a part of the purposes for which our buildings are built and operated.

    Procurement Bills Receive a hearing in Fiscal Committee

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    SB 5760 went before the House Capitol Budget Committee on March 31. The AIAWA and a broad coalition of design professionals testified against the bill. The bill is supported by and promoted by the University of Washington and Washington State University.

    SB 5760 would pre-empt current law requiring the colleges to get prior approval of projects and would give them blanket authority to use design-build and general contractor/construction manager (GC/CM) procurement methods. This legislation would lower the dollar threshold from $10 million to $1 million and the small works roster limit would be increased from $35K/$55K to $1 million. Thus, SB 5760 would allow every project to be either: small works, design-build or GC/CM. Therefore SB 5760 effectively eliminates the design-bid-build procurement method.

    Lastly, the bill would also allow UW/WSU to prequalify bidders and limit the number of bidders on a project-by-project basis.

    You can see the AIA/WA testimony in opposition of this legislation below.

    AIA Members Testify in Support of Adding IECC to SB 5854

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    On March 18, John Cochran, AIA, and John Neff, AIA, both testified in support of SB 5854 and instituting the IECC, the International Environmental Council Code. Along with the two AIA members, Craig Stevenson of the International Code Council testified in support of the bill and adoption of the IECC code.

    Using this standards instead of the WSEC, Washington State Energy Code will cuts costs which is expensive for the state to develop; it will decrease complications for architects, engineers and contractors to comply; and reduce they difficulty building officials encounter when trying to enforce the code.

    The adopted of the IECC also comes with many benefits such as: free training, accessible resources online and for free, and streamlining Washington’s energy code with the rest of the nation so that firms who practice in multiple states will have an easier time building “to code”.

    You can view the hearing (below) from TVW’s webcasting program.

    AIA WA Member Testifies in Support of Efficiency First Legislation

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    AIAWA members Marc Jenefsky, of JensenFey, testified in support if SB 5854 which aims to reduce climate pollution in the built environment.

    Jenefsky testified about how this bill and its goals are good for creating quality jobs and the environment. Jenefsky also detailed how the goals of the bill are achievable, affordable and desirable. See his testimony below. For the entire hearing on this bill visit TVW here.

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