Advocacy Update – May 2021

This month in advocacy: Washington's state legislative session concludes; the Attorney General weighs in on the stamping of architectural documents; Seattle's Comprehensive Plan update is set to kick off; and AIA Seattle presents 15-Minute Seattle.


State Legislative Session Adjourns
Washington’s Legislature adjourned on April 25, ending a historic, nearly all-virtual session in which Democratic leadership focused on four key areas: COVID relief, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. Gov. Inslee is still signing bills into law. You can read AIA Washington Council’s final legislative report here. If you have questions, contact Kirsten.

AG’s Office Issues Opinion on Stamping of Architectural Documents
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office issued an opinion that only architects may stamp architectural plans submitted to local governments for review. Last year, AIA Washington Council asked a state legislator to submit a request for this formal opinion to respond to Kennewick city officials, who had been allowing engineers to stamp architectural drawings against current law. A 1990 Attorney General’s opinion supported this practice, but the law it cited was changed by the Legislature in 2010 as a result of AIA-requested amendments to the Architects Practice Act. Kennewick officials said they would not follow this law without a new opinion by the Attorney General’s office.

The formal opinion, available here, was issued on March 31 and applies to all local jurisdictions in the state. It confirms that, under the 2010 amendments to the Architects Practice Act, the stamping and submission of architectural drawings constitutes the practice of architecture and thus requires registration with the Washington Board for Architecture. An engineer may not stamp architectural drawings.


Seattle Comprehensive Plan 2024
This fall, Seattle will begin its process of developing the city’s 2024 Comprehensive Plan under the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA), which requires most counties and cities to prepare comprehensive plans that show how they will manage population growth over the following two decades. The GMA defines a set of goals for managing growth and lays out the basic contents of comprehensive plans. But Seattle will have significant opportunities to craft the scope and content of its plan, and that process will be open to public input throughout the plan’s development cycle. Seattle’s process is expected to revise the city’s existing growth management strategy, address the need for significantly more housing units, enhance racial and social equity, incorporate ways to address climate change, and more.

Seattle’s Office of Planning and Community Development will begin the scoping process this fall, and AIA Seattle will be offering programming to get architects and members of the public prepared to participate. If you are interested in helping with this effort, please let Kirsten know.


Built Environment Candidate Forums
Along with ULI, ASLA, NOMA NW and others, AIA Seattle will be hosting two city of Seattle candidate forums on built environment issues in June/July. One forum each will be dedicated to the mayoral race and the council races for positions 8 and 9. If you are interested in helping design the forums, please contact Kirsten.

NCARB Committees
The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is accepting applications for volunteers to serve on committees for July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022. More information about NCARB committees can be found here. Applications are available here.


West Coast Downtowns: Resilience, Recovery and Beyond – Wednesday, May 26 | 5-6:30 pm
AIA Seattle and the City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development present a panel discussion on how San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle are looking to transform their downtowns beyond the central business district into active, vibrant neighborhoods that serve all residents and center each city. More info.

15-Minute City Series – June
In June, AIA Seattle presents 15-Minute Seattle: Creating Livable Places for All, a comprehensive look at how Seattle can become a city of complete neighborhoods where residents can work, shop, access services, and socialize – all within a short walk from their homes. The featured event, Housing Innovation in the 15-Minute City, includes a keynote presentation by Kristian Skovbakke Villadsen of Gehl in Copenhagen and a separate panel discussion on housing policy that supports the population needed for 15-minute city neighborhoods. Look for additional programming to be added to the series site, here.

Seattle City Light Lighting Design Lab Code Compliance Classes – June
Seattle City Light’s Lighting Design Lab is offering a series of three heat pump webinars in June that will cover the new Seattle code requirements for heat pump space heating and water heating. The Lighting Design Lab now offers AIA learning units for these free courses. Additional upcoming classes are listed here.

AIA Seattle Committee Meetings
The Center for Architecture and Design is closed until the governor’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order is lifted. All meetings and events are either canceled or moved to an online or conference call format.  Check AIA’s events page for more details on specific events.

  • AIA Seattle’s Housing Task Force continues to meet monthly on the second Thursday of each month at noon via Zoom.
  • AIA Seattle’s Transportation Task Force meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 pm via Zoom.

For info on how to access either meeting, contact Kirsten.

We’d love to hear from you! To comment or for more information on these or any other topics, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Policy & Advocacy
AIA Seattle & AIA Washington Council
206-957-1926 |