Each month the SFx Board and SFx State Representatives meet virtually to learn about resources available to help small firms improve their practices. The summaries below describe the topics discussed along with any resources that could be helpful to you in running your firm.
To get more information, contact your SFx State Representative.
On our first call of the year, the AIA Trust shared resources available for small firms.
- Insurance options including life, liability, business owner, cyber liability, disability, auto, home, healthcare, long term care, travel and pet health insurance.
- AIA Trust Legal Network where you can find an A/E attorney by state. The Practice Coach service provides a subscription service to access legal professionals to manage risks and minimize claims.
- Retirement Planning
- AIA Trust Newsletter
- Resources for starting and running a firm
Learn more: https://theaiatrust.com
AIA General Counsel, Terry Ona, Esq., to answered questions on anti-trust law and its relationship to the AIA and practice of architecture. He reviewed the following:
- Applicable anti-trust law
- A History of AIA antitrust cases
- A review of current AIA anti-trust compliance efforts
This was discussed as an SFx Board and SFx State Representative group to guide our discussion during the year, but it also applies to conversations between competitors.
Learn more: https://www.aia.org/pages/3316-antitrust-compliance
In March, we held our first roundtable discussion on how to grow our firms including the topics:
- What is the role of firm culture in growing your firm?
- How does your firm organization change as you grow?
- Hiring, Training & Retaining Staff
- What resources have you used to help establish or grow your firm?
Dana Ellis, AIA - SFx Board Member - shared some resources that she used in establishing her firm. Read the article “My Startup Firm Story: The Outpost Studio” to see what resources she took advantage of.
This month’s topic was a follow-up to some work done at the SFx Annual Meeting around the involvement of small firms in the 2030 Commitment. At the annual meeting, we discussed the barriers to small firms getting signed on to the Commitment. Some of the concerns discussed include:
- Perceptions of the time commitment needed to enter the required DDx information.
- Overall ability to allocate the resources needed to participate in the challenge.
- Struggles of clients interested in pursuing sustainable buildings
What has your experience been with the 2030 Commitment? Any resources that can be shared with other small firms to better embrace sustainability? Please let us know!
For more information, visit: The AIA 2030 Commitment
May’s topic was a discussion with the AIA Contract Documents Group.
- How can small firms better utilize AIA contracts? We expressed to our guests that having templates for simpler agreements based on AIA contracts would be helpful. There are different sized documents depending on the complexity of the project.
- Feedback given included needing state specific amendments and that for some clients the standard documents are too complicated. This may require working with an attorney to meet these needs.
What feedback and help do you need with contracts? Let your state rep know and we’ll see how we can help.
For additional information, check out the AIA Contract Documents page.
In June, we met with Arlen Solochek, FAIA from the AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community. We discussed the different ways projects are delivered as small firms.
- Design-bid-build is still used on a lot of small firm projects.
- CM-at-Risk is becoming used more and more and provides some value to small firms as long as reviews by the CM and feedback during design phases are provided to the design team, including cost estimates. Some have had great experiences.
- Concern was expressed that the CM-at-Risk process gets around the bid process.
- An interest in Design-Build was also discussed.
Learn more: https://www.aia.org/pages/6202686-project-delivery-resources
Learn more: June 2022 Practice Management Digest
The following topics are planned for the 3rd Quarter of 2022:
July: Small Project Design
Aug: Improving Conference Education and Networking Opportunities
Sept: Technology Roundtable
Are there areas of practice you would like help with to improve what you do? Reach out to your state representative and let them know!