16 April 2014

Legislative Update by Dan Chun, FAIA

Hawaii State Legislative Update by Dan Chun, FAIA

AIA Hawaii State Council is responsible for monitoring state legislative bills important to architecture and architects. Following is an update, current to April 15, at the important milestone where the Senate and the House confer on their differences related to bills that crossed over from the originating body and then were amended on the path to possibly become law.

To read the current text of bills discussed below, go to the state legislative website www.capitol.hawaii.gov. Follow the prompts and you can see the process, the text of each amended bill version and the interesting public testimony both supporting and opposing. AIA testimony is shown for bills in the respective public testimony file.

Consumer Protection and Licensing

AIA did not come across bills this 2014 session that dealt directly with this subject. However, AIA strongly supported Senate Bill 2581 Relating to the State Building Code. SB 2581 SD2 HD1 modifies the Council by adding voting members representing the construction industry and allows the staggering of code adoptions (maximum 6-year intervals). SB 2581 prohibits the Council from adopting provisions that conflict with laws governing contractor licensing and appropriates funds for the Council’s operating costs, including staff salaries. SB 2581 passed through both houses and is now in conference committee to resolve differences in the Senate and House versions. Of great concern to AIA is that a bill like this passed in the 2013 session only to have Governor Abercrombie veto the bill saying a state building code council must not be funded using Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund because building codes are not related to hurricane protection for the public.

Public Procurement

AIA and our allied Construction Industry Council of Hawaii CICH supported Senate Bill 2463 that banned the “defense of government agencies” requirement in all public contracts for design professionals and construction contractors. The “defense” requirement survives the life of the contract and, for architects and engineers, is uninsurable for professional liability claims. Buildings, highways and infrastructure have long service life so our liability is greatly lengthened relative to other services bought by government. Currently state law bans the clause for public design contracts less than $1 million dollars. During the session, the bills were revised to ban “defense” duty for architects-engineers, while requiring construction contractors to defend the public agency for one year after Notice of Completion. State Attorney General opposed the bill as overly generous to construction contractors. However, construction contractors fear that the duty to defend relative to project professional liability issues would then fall unto the construction side of insurance.

AG suggested using a time period equal to Statute of Repose. However, this is considered unacceptable because the Statute is subject to being revised or being overturned by the state Supreme Court as it was in the 1990s. A compromise was worked on by Senator Clayton Hee, but in the end SB 2463 was deferred at Senate Judiciary over irreconcilable differences with the Attorney General.

AIA thanks those members who sent supporting testimony for our bill. At the last CICH meeting, we discussed a strategy for 2015 session with a new bill that takes into account the number. timing and types of claims in response to AG opposition. It typically takes 5-7 years to pass a bill, so we are still at the beginning of the effort. Just like the design process – back to the drawing board!

Works of Art Special Fund

AIA opposed Senate Bill 2620 that dramatically revised the original intent of Hawaii’s I% set-aside for public art in state-funded buildings. AIA was an original supporter of the law championed by architect Alfred Preis FAIA. SB 2620 would have diverted some funds for performing arts and allowed state-funded public art to be displayed in any government building including federal and county-funded. SB 2620 failed to pass the House Finance Committee, meaning it is essentially dead.

Historic Preservation Senate Bill 2633

AIA monitored SB 2633 attempting to exempt all residences from current state historic preservation law, but did not submit official testimony. Several architects sent opposing testimony that well-characterizes the detrimental effect the bill could have on the built environment of this state. Last fall AIA Honolulu sat on a City & County of Honolulu DPP task force that proposed some common sense changes that could be taken to alleviate complaints surrounding the current DLNR process. Track the DLNR determinations of no significant impact by Tax Map Key, meaning subsequent building permit applications for the same building would not need to duplicate the effort. Develop a list of exempt activities.

Opposing testimony of the Historic Hawaii Foundation makes the same good points and calls upon DLNR to update the list of eligible buildings with true historic significance, instead of a “categorical” exemption for all residential buildings.  

Pacific Source Event: Surface Art

15 April 2014

AIA Convention 2014 Early Bird Registration Ends


for AIA Convention 2014 ends tomorrow
(16 April 2014)!!

Deadline Approaching: 2014 AIA Maui Scholarship

AIA Maui is currently accepting applications for two (2) $3,000 scholarships.  Please see the Scholarship page for more information and scholarship application and nomination forms.

The deadline for receiving applications is Wednesday, 30 April 2014.






11 April 2014

HCPO 2014 Call for Sessions


The 2014 Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials (HCPO) open Call for Sessions deadline is Friday, 18 April 2014.  The AIA Maui is encouraging its membership to submit ideas!!

The following is a proposal for a HCPO Panel Discussion by Shichao Li at DBET:

Challenges and Alternatives to Deal with Existing Development Built in Close Proximity to the Shoreline

Short description:

Under the circumstance of climate change, Hawaiian Islands are under the challenges to deal with existing development built in close proximity to the shoreline.  This panel aims to discuss these challenges and potential solutions regarding the increasing risk of coastal hazards to existing development within the shoreline area.

Long description:

Hawaiian Islands are among the most vulnerable to coastal hazards.  Under the circumstance of climate change and severe weather, we are increasingly facing the challenges to deal with the existing development and nonconforming structures built in close proximity to the shoreline.  For example, recent coastal erosion events on Oahu, Maui and Kauai have highlighted the challenge in dealing with the existing nonconforming structures, including private properties, within the shoreline area.  These existing structures, including transportation, water, energy, and other infrastructure were completed prior to Act 136, Session Laws of Hawaii 1970, relating to Land Use Law, which established shoreline setback requirements.

This discussion panel aims to gather professionals and property owners to discuss the challenges and alternatives, with examples and stories at the local level as to how to respond to increasing risk of coastal hazards such as high waves, shoreline erosion, and rising sea levels to the existing development system.  The panel may:


1.       Discuss the immediate economic costs and social consequences of retreat of coastal infrastructure from risk-prone, low-lying areas.
2.       Discuss existing and new economic incentives, e.g., the National Flood Insurance Program, and tax incentives, to encourage appropriate changes in the existing pattern of development.
3.       Present local cases related to climate change vulnerability and risk assessments, and adaptation projects.
4.       Provide lessons and stories from local communities in dealing with existing nonconforming structures located in the threatened areas of coastal hazards.

03 April 2014

2014 Grassroots Report by Dan Chun

The following is a brief report on 2014 AIA Grassroots from Dan Chun:

AIA Hawaii delegation lobbies Congress at 2014 Grassroots Conference

The leadership of the AIA in Hawaii journeyed to still-wintry Washington DC for annual leadership conference and lobbying the Congress on issues important to architecture and architects. Following are the top three national priorities for AIA.

Re-enact Expired Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives – 179D tax deduction

Congress left town last December without extending several important tax incentives that expired on New Year’s Day 2014. Of most significance to the design and construction industry is the expiration of a tax break enacted in 2005 for energy efficient commercial buildings. The 179D deduction allowed building owners to claim a tax deduction of $1.80 per sq. ft. of building area to install systems that reduce the total energy and power costs by 50 percent or more when compared with a reference building. As Congress continues to debate long-term tax reform, it can boost the economy and create jobs today by reinstating this deduction.

If a building owner is not a taxable entity, tax law allowed the architect-engineer of the building to claim the tax deduction. Your AIA delegation found support for the 179D tax deduction, particularly from Senator Schatz staff where a future version was discussed related to a sliding scale of energy performance vs. amount of tax deduction.

Reform Federal Government Procurement – Limit Design-build short-list to 5 teams

In 2014, the AIA is aggressively pushing for passage of The Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013 (H.R. 2750), introduced by Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) in July, which would reform the design-build contracting process so that more design and architectural firms can bid on federal contracts without fear of losing money in the process. Design-build offers are supposedly limited to 5 offers. However, federal agencies have used a “loophole” to short-list up to 15 design-build teams; dramatically reducing the odds of contract award and increasing business overhead costs in the design industry. AIA wants to close this “loophole.”

Hawaii has a large amount of federal design-build activity that impacts many local firms. Hawaii Procurement Code, governing state and county design-build procurement, limits the short-list to only 3 teams. This was passed several years ago at the request of AIA, American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC Hawaii) and the General Contractors’ Association.

National Design Services Act - Invest in the Next Generation of Design Leaders

Many young people aspire to help their communities build a better future – but a lack of opportunity and the crushing cost of education hold them back. As a result, the design and construction industry faces a severe shortage of talent, at exactly the moment we need to start rebuilding for the future. The AIA urges Congress to pass the proposed National Design Services Act (NDSA), which will give architecture students the relief from crushing student loan debt as that granted young lawyers, teachers, doctors and others – in return for pro bono community service. The details of this pro bono service are still being worked out, with the Department of Housing and Urban Development the likely manager.

HCPO 2014 Call for Sessions

The 2014 Hawaii Congress of Planning Officials (HCPO) has opened a Call for Sessions for their conference to be held on Maui in September 2014.  Click on image below to access the Call for Sessions and Presentations.

31 March 2014

27 March 2014