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House Votes to Update Federal Contracting Rules On Tuesday the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee took an important step in improving the way federal civilian agencies, such as GSA, contract with design firms. Committee members voted unanimously to approve H.R. 5199, the Construction Consensus Procurement Act, which would prohibit the use of one-step selection procedures in federal design-build competitions valued at over $3 million. Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), who introduced the bill, commented on the need for this legislation and did an excellent job summarizing the inherent problems with one-step selection: ...
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Advocacy @ Convention

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Attending the AIA Convention in Philadelphia? Make sure to connect with AIA Advocacy while you are there! Stop by the ArchiPAC Lounge to send a selfie message to the next President of the United States, find out how you can support the profession through ArchiPAC, and much more. You can even enter to win a free trip to SpeakUp 2017, the AIA’s premier advocacy and action event! The lounge is located on the Arch Street Bridge, Level 2, across from the AIA Bookstore. Stop by or come to one of the events listed below to connect, engage, and inspire through advocacy. We will see you there! ACTIVITIES AT THE LOUNGE : Visit the lounge...
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AIA helped cosponsor the P3 Summit on Infrastructure & Public-Private Partnerships with Governing Magazine that took place on May 12 th in Santa Monica. The event brought together over 100 people from all across the country including experts from the public and private sectors to examine the risks and challenges as well as the benefits of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) as a financing tool. Throughout the day we heard from public sector leaders who have implemented P3s helping to shed light on some of the complexities such as the importance of an accurate risk assessment and proper accounting of life cycle costs. Representing the architecture...
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New Legislation Aims to Boost Community Resilience This past Tuesday, Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) took a major step toward reducing disaster impacts and saving lives by introducing H.R. 5177, the National Mitigation Investment Act of 2016. This legislation would reform federal disaster programs to increase focus on pre-disaster mitigation and resilient construction. By providing an additional 4 percent in post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grants to states with qualifying building code systems, the National Mitigation Investment Act will provide a powerful incentive for states to take preventative steps...
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AIA at the White House: Resilience (And Building Codes) Matter The AIA used the occasion of a White House Conference on Resilient Building Codes to announce a new commitment to develop a resilience curriculum for architects. Along with other partners in the Building Industry Resilience Coalition, AIA also released a report tracking the Coalition’s progress since the signing of the Coalition’s Building Industry Statement on Resilience two years ago. For its part, the White House announced key public and private sector efforts aimed at advancing resilience in building codes and standards, and building design. The White House event brought...
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As the House’s tax-writing committee gets set to discuss improvements to the tax code, the AIA will urge the Committee to preserve and extend the 179D energy efficient commercial building tax deduction. The latest gossip coming from local tax insiders suggests that the House Ways and Means Committee hearing will touch on the dozens of tax provisions which are set to expire at the end of 2016, including the AIA-supported 179D deduction . 179D is one of 50 or so temporary tax provisions known as “extenders” that automatically expire every year. Congress ostensibly chose to make these provisions temporary in order to “test” their impact in the real...
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The Spring 2016 CAE Conference in Berlin was interspersed with a broad variety of educational spaces - from K-12 schools to Universities, libraries to a research academy of the Jewish Museum, historical buildings to Germany's most sustainable building. As I reflect back on the conference - talks by inspirational professionals in the fields of architecture and education, and tours of schools new and old - the projects which had the most impact on me, were those that were completely unexpected. Growing up in Germany, I experienced a more strict and regimented environment in the classroom, with most of the freedom and imagination coming from the playground...
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By Michael Hall, AIA, REFP, LEED AP For as long as there have been architecture firms, there have been strategic partnerships. In the last 20 years, this practice has become increasingly common. Today, finding a strong local partner or a national thought leader is as easy as a Google search. Yet like any Business Development strategy, there are right ways and wrong ways to partner. Done well, partnerships with other firms are a relatively low-cost way to enhance your value proposition and bring new benefits to potential clients. Getting creative with partnerships The issue of value is at the heart of any successful...
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By Scott Braley, FAIA, FRSA What would you do? A talented Project Manager was arguably among the best PM's in the firm. Highly regarded for talent and accomplishments, the PM seemed to be on a sure path to becoming a Principal of the firm. One day two leaders of the firm asked that they meet for lunch. One of the leaders was the PM's informal “mentor,” and hinted that this was an important discussion. Surely this had to be something good – really good. Indeed it was. The leaders wasted little time in moving to the key topic – the PM's opportunity to become a Principal of the firm. Then, in the conversation took an interesting...
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By Karen O. Courtney, AIA, FSMPS So much of business development (BD) is doing the little things right as well as focusing on the big things that really matter and can bring work in the door. For the busy architect, getting business is often a natural progression of doing good work for clients. But to grow, a portion of time should always be devoted to acquiring new business to replace the inevitable turnover of clients. Here are some insights that can make a difference in improving your BD bottom line. Understand Your Brand Branding is “marketing speak” for your reputation and what that means for your clients and prospects....
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By Craig Park, FSMPS, Assoc. AIA, Principal , The Sextant Group Most architectural firms rely on principals or their marketing and business development staff to identify and build relationships with key decision makers in the markets where they choose to serve. Whether your firm is a generalist or works primarily in one or two market niches, developing a market research and outreach plan is the first step to building business. The implementation of the plan ― the business development effort ― identifies opportunities that firms can pursue. As much as we would like the decision process to be objective, the success of any pursuit effort is contingent...
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Congratulations to AIA Pennsylvania on being recognized as leaders in government affairs and communications among their association industry peers. They were presented with the Pennsylvania Society of Association Executives (PASAE) Laurel Awards for Government Affairs and Communications at the PASAE’s Educational Summit and Expo earlier this month. http://www.aiapa.org/2016/04/11/aia-pennsylvania-honored-with-government-affairs-communications-awards/ Anne Law , Manager, Business Practice and Policy
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Senate Deals a Blow to Federal 2030 Targets – But Fight is Far From Over Late last month, the U.S. Senate voted to approve S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Although this bill contains some good provisions for energy efficiency, it also includes the repeal of current 2030 fossil fuel reduction targets for federal buildings. The bill was passed due largely to a strong lobbying push by the natural gas industry, which has made repealing 2030 one of their top priorities, and despite a major push by the AIA and its allies to raise opposition to the provision. As we celebrate Earth Day and the nations of the world come together...
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I have the honor of being the 2016 and 2017 Chair of TDBP. I wanted to send out a greeting and update our members on the current state of TDBP focus and activities. At this moment in our profession, we are confronting the questions of “What is the relevance of our service for our clients?” and “What is the impact of our work for society?” TDBP members have a large part to play in this conversation. Architects should be leaders in the application of technical design for building performance. We can leverage our expertise and our position as Leaders of the Design Team to be more focused on delivering projects that meet the goals that we set with our...
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One week has passed since returning from the CAE Berlin Conference. In Portland, Maine this week a group of well-organized parents from Protect our Neighborhood Schools organized proponents of the project packing a Joint School Board Facilities and Finance Committee Meeting. The aim was to put pressure our School Board and City Council to send a $70 million bond to Portland taxpayers to renovate four of the City's crumbling elementary schools. In the end, the committees voted to recommend the project to the full board. A small step towards finally renovating these buildings. It's been a long process for our community. The report which recommended renovating...
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EPA to Hold Webinar on the Cognitive Impact of Green Buildings On Wednesday, May 11th from 1:00 – 2:30 PM EDT the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Environments Division will hold a webinar entitled “Knowledge in the Air.” During the event, leading researchers will present their finding on how green buildings affect cognitive function. Presenters include Joseph G. Allen and Piers MacNaughton, of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as Usha Satish, from the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Upstate Medical University. Webinar participants will learn to recognize the optimal IAQ conditions for health and productivity,...
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As a travel scholarship recipient to the Committee on Architecture for Education's 2016 spring conference, I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I had this past week. Berlin presented a myriad of architectural wonders, both within the education sector and without. The city itself was quite inspiring, given that the Berlin wall came down only 27 years ago, and much has already been accomplished in this once-divided city. Conference attendees toured a variety of educational settings, from kindergarten to higher education, which provided us with a small peek at the German approach to education (see CAE's Facebook page for pics of the sites). This...
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The top ten things to consider for your architecture firm’s next website. By Josh Miles Summary Your website is potentially the most underutilized business development and validation tool in your practice. But are you doing everything you could to leverage this opportunity? While a successful website could range from a single landing page, to hundreds of pages deep, a site that uniquely positions your firm, your expertise, and your people is invaluable. With the advent of responsive web design and the ever-changing role of search engines, best practices are constantly evolving. Here are the top ten things your firm can focus on today to...
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By Tim Barrick, FSMPS and Tony Steinhardt, FSMPS, CPSM “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” - Michael Jordan This quote – from a guy who knows something about winning – fittingly describes the “team sport” of business development in the AEC industry. To win work, firms must assemble a team of both business developers and seller-doers that work well together, share intelligence and leverage each other’s unique skill set to accomplish a common goal. The Business Developer’s Role The business developer plays a vital role in the process of winning work by initiating new relationships...
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Business Development Letter from the Editor By David Brent Richards, FAIA This issue of the Practice Management Digest is focused on Business Development. Special thanks go to Karen O. Courtney, AIA, a Past President and Fellow of the Society for Marketing Professional Services for envisioning the content and coordinating the contributions to this edition of the PM Digest. Many sides of Business Development are discussed in this issue. In her article, Developing Good Business Development Habits , Karen Courtney, AIA, FSMPS, the CMO of Fanning Howey provides insight to improving your BD bottom line. BD from a small firm perspective...
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