Advocacy Update – October 2018

This month in national, state and local advocacy: AIA secures language to better utilize architects for disaster recovery efforts; architects speak out against the EPA’s proposed deregulation of refrigerants; Seattle releases its final ADU EIS; and opportunities to get involved in state and local advocacy efforts, including AIA Washington Council's 2018 Advocacy Summit in Tacoma, WA, November 1.


AIA Secures Language to Better Utilize Architects for Disaster Recovery Efforts

Congress and President Trump enacted the Disaster Recovery Reform Act in October, paving the way for AIA to advance opportunities for architects to better serve communities when disasters occur. The bill includes language submitted by AIA National that will:

  • Pave the way for communities to better utilize architects during their disaster recovery efforts through AIA components’ administration of AIA’s Safety Assessment Program;
  • Require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, architects, and engineers to co-develop standardized best practices for building-safety assessments that focus on a building’s structural integrity and livability post disaster; and
  • Ensure that local and state officials understand the role of architect volunteers, which are a vital resource to the recovery of communities after a disaster.

The language was added to a reauthorization bill related to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Architects Speak Out on EPA’s Proposed Deregulation of Refrigerants

The EPA is proposing to rescind regulations around the leak repair, maintenance, and reporting of appliances using substitute refrigerants, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are estimated to have between 1,000-9,000 times more potential to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Architecture firms are invited to sign this letter to the EPA asking the agency to reconsider its position. AIA Washington Council is working to see if state legislators would be willing to enact legislation in Washington, as California did in September and Connecticut, Maryland and New York are looking to do. If you are interested in working on this issue with AIA Washington Council, please contact Kirsten Smith.


AIA Washington Council Advocacy Summit

AIA Washington Council will hold its annual Advocacy Summit on November 1 in Tacoma. Highlighted topics will include legislative issues related to mass timber, green buildings and embodied carbon. Members will also meet with policy committees to plan for the 2019 legislative session. AIA Washington Council priorities for next year’s session include:

  • Amending architect licensing standards to match the NCARB national standard;
  • Working on legislation to reform Washington’s condominium liability laws;
  • Supporting a robust 2019-20 Capital Budget (one that is passed on time!);
  • Addressing contracting issues related to state agencies moving work in-house;
  • Responding to proposals related to alternative project delivery;
  • Weighing in on funding requirements related to K-12 school construction;
  • Supporting efforts to lower the vote percentage required to pass K-12 school bonds;
  • Tracking climate initiatives including energy code issues, embodied carbon requirements, and efforts to reduce carbon emissions from buildings and other sources;
  • Championing efforts to change state building and fire codes to allow taller buildings to be made with wood (pending a State Building Code Council decision to refer these code changes to the Legislature);
  • Participating in efforts to reform Washington’s taxation system, with a special focus on the B&O tax;
  • Supporting affordable housing measures and robust funding for housing and homelessness services;
  • Backing more funding for mass transit and encouraging initiatives that boost transit-oriented development at transit stations; and
  • Monitoring proposed changes to the state’s Growth Management Act.

For more information on the Advocacy Summit, or to find out how to get involved with any of the above issues, contact Kirsten Smith.


Final ADU EIS Released

Seattle released its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on accessory dwelling units (ADUs) earlier this month. The city’s preferred alternative for land use code changes to remove barriers to building more ADUs include:

  • Allowing two ADUs on one lot;
  • Removing the off-street parking requirement;
  • Removing the owner-occupancy requirement and requiring one year of ownership when creating a second ADU;
  • Modifying development standards that regulate the size, height, and location of DADUs;
  • Increasing the household size limit for a lot with two ADUs; and
  • Establishing a new limit on the maximum size of single-family dwellings;

The Queen Anne Community Council filed a legal appeal challenging the city’s EIS, which will delay the City Council’s consideration of legislation to implement the changes.

AIA Joins DSA Call for Action on Accela

AIA Seattle sent a joint letter with the Downtown Seattle Association to Deputy Seattle Mayor David Moseley and Department of Construction and Inspections Director Nathan Torgelson asking for specific fixes to the city’s permitting process, including staff training, process improvements, technical support related to its Accela software and the incorporation of customer feedback.

Architect Sought for Seattle Design Commission

Mayor Durkan is seeking to fill a vacancy for the licensed architect position on the Seattle Design Commission, which advises the city on design excellence in publicly-funded capital improvement projects, projects in the city right-of-way, and projects constructed with city funds. The term is two years beginning March 2019. Click here for more details, including how to apply. The deadline is November 30, 2018.

OSE Issues Benchmark Report

The Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment released a new benchmarking analysis report to update trends from energy performance data reported to the City from 2014-2016. The report highlights key building energy and emissions metrics for the 3,300 benchmarked buildings and reveals that continuously benchmarked buildings have reduced emissions, saved money, and improved performance over time. AIA supports funding for energy benchmarking at both the city and state levels.


Join an AIA Task Force! New Task Forces on Transportation and the Public Realm

AIA Seattle’s Public Policy Board has established two new task forces to address issues related to transportation and the public realm. Task forces generally meet monthly and focus on developing AIA’s position on the topic and coordinating AIA’s response to related issues that arise over time. If you are interested in participating, please contact Kirsten Smith.


AIA Seattle Committee & Task Force Meetings

AIA Seattle members are invited to attend these policy-focused committee meetings, which occur monthly:

Housing Task Force Monthly Meeting, November 8, noon – 1:15 pm @ the Center. If you are interested in participating, please contact Kirsten Smith.

Committee on Homelessness, November 13, noon – 1:00 pm @ the Center.

Transportation Task Force Monthly Meeting, November 13, 5:30pm – 6:30pm @ the Center. If you are interested in participating, please contact Kirsten Smith.

For more information on these or any other topics, or to join a task force, please contact:

Kirsten Smith
Manager of Policy and Advocacy
AIA Washington Council & AIA Seattle
206-448-4938 x401 |

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