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President’s Message NOV19

A couple of weeks ago, I spent an evening at Anne Arundel Community College meeting with architects, educators and students to discuss architectural education at all levels of a student’s career. The conversation quickly turned to recruitment and retention of students. The profession of architecture is evolving and students that are intrigued by design problem-solving are often looking for creative ways to combine their interests and skillsets. There has been a push for years, through local AIA chapters and many firms and practitioners, to get into elementary and middle schools to show young students what architecture is. We need to continue expanding our outreach and give students a path through high school to keep the interest alive and provide a deeper understanding of the thinking and skills needed to obtain an accredited degree and/or become a registered architect. What we’re doing is making a dent, but we need to creatively think of a way to do more…more opportunities, more outreach, more touchpoints.

The week after, I went with my family to a Baltimore City high school open house. My son is a freshman there, and my daughter, who is currently a middle-schooler was excited to go explore her future opportunities. She hears stories from her brother daily about how serious and different high school is and she was more than willing to pretend, for the night, that it was her high school too. My son was excited to give us the tour that only a ‘local’ could give. He took us around, pointing out his friends’ lockers and showing us shortcuts from class to class, which were in fact, not at all shorter. No complaints though, as my wife and I were just excited that they both wanted to be back at school for two hours on a Tuesday night instead of texting their friends.

I had been through this open house before, twice actually, as my son was deciding where he wanted to go. So, while my energy level was up, my expectations were tempered. That feeling didn’t last long however. Just like the previous two times, I was impressed by the teaching curriculum and the devotion and energy of the faculty, but what was even more impressive were the hundreds of students who volunteered to stick around until nearly 9 pm to greet and escort visitors, share their personal experiences, answer questions in Q&A sessions, and passionately promote their school clubs. The diversity of the clubs, from sports to climate, immigration to gender inclusion, were a virtual carnival of interests and activities. We were told more than once, that if a student has the drive and is self-motivated, they can start a club about anything. It was clear, sometimes painfully clear, that these interests were personal for many of the students. As I scanned the room, taking stock of the depth of subject matter, I realized that they were many of the same topics we deal with as architects. We often address sustainability, mobility and access, gender issues, economic and social inclusion, and health and wellbeing in our projects. Sometimes it’s a small piece of a larger puzzle, and sometimes solving that one issue IS the puzzle. It made me realize that the appeal of architecture to students today may not be in the architecture at all, but in design’s societal benefit to this wide range of impacted populations. If we can get design to spark that kind of passion in students, we will continue to build the pipeline of creative, curious, analytical, diverse thinkers that we need to ensure our profession continues to grow and tackles, head on, the critical issues facing our planet. It is often not easy to find the time, but it’s not hard. It’s talking to kids about what you do and who it helps. Talking about what kind of impact architects make; what kind of changes thoughtful design brings. Your investment in talking to students, showing up at career days and bringing students to the office, is some of the best recruiting that we can do. We can make architecture cool. Can we make it high school club cool? Well there was not an architecture club in the room that night, but I will do my best to make sure there is one there next year.

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Department of General Services Liaison Committee

Dan Bailey, AIA of Penza Bailey Architects is the AIA Maryland representative to the Department of General Services (DGS) Liaison Committee. Dan regularly attends meetings representing the interests of architects in Maryland and, works with DGS on issues which affect the practice of architecture in Maryland. Here is the latest from the September DGS Liaison Committee meeting:

The DGS Liaison Committee met on September 12, 2019 to discuss various design service, procurement and legislative issues and matters that affect the Architectural and Engineering communities and the State of Maryland Department of General Services (DGS).  The following is a brief synopsis of those discussions:

  • In accordance with an MOU, the procurement, contracting, project management, and project review for all A/E projects under the responsibility of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services will shift to DGS as of October 1, 2019.  Current contracts shall remain intact, but the department personnel may change as a result of this shift.
  • DGS recently posted their revised “DGS Procedure Manual for Professional Services”, dated July 2019.  All projects must comply with this latest version of the manual.  In general, the procedures and requirements have been simplified and streamlined.
  • As we approach the 2020 General Assembly Session, AIA Maryland and ACEC will closely track introduced legislation and will respond accordingly in the best interest of our professions and membership.  Both AIA Maryland and ACEC anticipate legislation that will address:  1) the desired inclusion of duty to defend requirement in certain State contracts; 2) revision to onerous, uninsurable indemnification clauses in certain State contracts;  and 3) the revision to contracts including unlimited extents of discovery with regard to Certificates of Merit.
  • Other legislative efforts will focus on: 1) the development of clear implementation guidelines for the previously approved legislation addressing out-of-state firm procurement reciprocity; 2) the degradation of current procurement law under COMAR with respect to Qualification Based Selection.
  • Quality of Design Services:  DGS expressed concern that there needs to be more effective and efficient Construction Administration processes by all A/E firms, as well as, DGS project management.  Some of these concerns are as follows:  1) disconnects on system and material substitutions; 2) ability to hold Contractor to more robust CPM Scheduling requirements; 3) clearer and more broadly applied commissioning requirements; 4) provision of preventative maintenance procedures by DGS; 5) early submission, substantive requirements, and better follow through of coordinated shop drawings; 6) effective and substantive Division 1 and 2 specifications.  On all of these issues, both AIA Maryland and ACEC will work closely with DGS to obtain suggestions and recommendations from their membership, and will collaborate with DGS to create more effective processes.
  • Upcoming Projects RFP’s:  New Maryland Court of Appeals; Courtroom Addition for Hagerstown District Court; New Barracks in Hagerstown; Park and Museum extension for the Maryland Department of Planning; Security Enhancements to Roxbury Correctional Institution; State Park project enhancements, upgrades, and new facilities as a result of a doubling of capital project funding for the Department of Natural Resources (visitor centers, cabins, comfort stations, trails and site improvements, etc.)
  • RFP’s will be requiring greater key personnel qualifications for team consultants, especially with regard to consultant Project Managers and Project Engineers who will be directly involved in project work.

Feel free to reach out to AIA Maryland or Dan with your questions or comments on the above noted discussions.

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State Board of Architects – Summer Report 2019

The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation announced that Mr. Rory Wise has been appointed to the position of Assistant Executive Director of the five Design Boards. Mr. Wise had served with the Maryland Department of Corrections for 20 years as well as at Perkins State Hospital and now turns his hand to working with design professionals.

A committee has been appointed by the SBOA to examine the present Maryland Regulations for “Continuing Professional Competency” Maryland-speak for Continuing Education Credits. Maryland regulations say one thing, the AIA Continuing Education System says another, while the NCARB says something else. SBOA Chair Paul Edmeades, AIA, chairs this committee, assisted by Executive Director Joe Cullingford, Cynthia Shonaiya, AIA Magda Westerhaut, AIA, and John F. Corkill, Jr., AIA. The committee is faced with countless pages of verbiage to simplify. For instance, the present Maryland architect’s regulations do not permit independent study for CEU’s or in SBOA-speak, Professional Competency Units, but the AIA Transcript does.

Members of Maryland’s 100 professional boards are all breathing more easily since the unexpected $2.5M judgement rendered by Judge Rubin of the Montgomery County Circuit Court against the Maryland Board of Physicians has been set aside by the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. On June 2nd, the Hon. Judge Kevin F. Arthur overturned the judgement, citing the Immunity from prosecution for state professional boards and their staffs he found in many laws and legal precedents, both state and federal. The question of the Physicians’ board staff and member’s conduct rising to legally actionable levels was not examined in detail by Judge Arthur as it had been by Judge Rubin in his judgement.

Rather, Judge Arthur wrote in his over 100 page opinion about the conundrum in US Laws covering the ability of professional boards to feel free during their deliberations from pressures by persons outside the hearing room. On the other hand, a free people need to feel that professional boards are not above and beyond the law, given the ancient right of kings and despots for absolute impunity in their actions.

Maryland law clearly accords professional board members and staffers immunity from prosecution by the public – as long as they deliberate without malice. Where Judge Rubin saw Physicians’ board members and staff as having strayed from impartiality in their deliberations, emails, and memos, Judge Arthur did not. By the way, also waived was the Rubin Judgement’s demand that the Physicians’ board cover millions of dollars of Dr. Geier’s legal fees.

None of the Geier case affects in any way the fact that the US Federal Trade Commission is still located in DC, right across Constitution Avenue from the National Gallery of Art, so the SBOA and the Engineers’ Board have no reason to feel free of eventual adjudication. The FTC has been very quiet lately, given the anti-regulatory doctrine currently emanating from farther up Pennsylvania Avenue. But with the restoration of normal order expected after the 2020 election, the FTC’s anti-trust lawyers, victors in the US Supreme Court over the trade-restraining North Carolina Dentists’ Board,  will be free to look east to Maryland and the restraint of trade situation afflicting over 60% of Maryland residents who must pay extra for unneeded engineers’ seals on architects’ drawings of even modest construction projects.

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President’s Message – Sept19

Whoa that went by fast! And as much as I want to hang on to the last bits of summer, I’ve put away the Hawaiian shirts and bathing suits. My summer mindset has passed. The kids are back in school, forging new friendships and figuring out how to relate to new teachers. The choreography of school drop off, after school activities, and sports events means our household has to be coordinated and efficient. And the intensity of our educational projects picks up with faculty back and ready to engage in programming and design input. Fall is a season of community and collaboration.

We have that same mindset at AIA Maryland. I was recently a panelist with Paul Hume of GWWO, Joe Rode of Mullan Contracting and Ken Wingate of North Point Builders for AIA Baltimore/ABC’s ‘When Egos Collide’ discussing how architects and contractors can work better together. This kind of dialogue creates new lines of communication and highlights our symbiotic relationship with our tool wielding friends. September is also the month of AIA Maryland’s annual awards celebration. It’s a chance for our community of architects, students and designers to celebrate the teams that worked together to create significant and transformative projects. I’m very excited because this year, the event will be at the award-winning R House in Hampden. So, mark your calendars for September 26th and buy your tickets now! It will be a cool event in an even cooler space. And finally, October brings about the ultimate collaborative effort as AIA Maryland hosts our annual educator’s forum with faculty and student representatives from all of the statewide post-secondary architecture programs. Year after year, the question we ask ourselves and each other is consistent; ‘how can we best prepare architectural students for the profession, and how can we maximize the emerging professionals’ experience?’, but the conversation that ensues is always passionate and enlightening. I look forward to this annual meeting and know that through dialogue and consensus, we are engaged in a process of continual strengthening of the profession.

I also want to take a moment to thank someone who has been a great collaborator with AIA Maryland. For years Allen Neyman has worked behind the scenes as the treasurer of the Maryland Architects’ PAC. He has been instrumental in building our relationships with legislators in Annapolis to ensure that our voices are heard on issues important to you. Allen decided to step down this past spring, and this summer we welcomed Ted Sheils, who has very graciously volunteered to be our new PAC treasurer. We wish Allen the best and thank him for his years of service to our architectural community.

I hope to celebrate a year of accomplishments with you on September 26th and I want to hear YOUR stories about community and collaboration.

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Revit User Group Meeting in Baltimore

Alex Jonovski of KLH Engineers and Heather Worrell of Ratio are the speakers slated for the November 5th Revit Baltimore User Group. These professionals recently spoke at the BiLT Conference in Seattle and were asked to deliver their presentation to the BIM user group. More info here.

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People’s Choice Voting Open!

Vote for your favorite projects in the AIA Maryland Excellence in Design and Student awards program. Participants may vote once in each category – Commercial, Interiors, Institutional, Residential, Mixed-Use, Unbuilt and Urban Design. Voting closes at midnight, September 15th.

VOTE for your favorite Professional Entries

VOTE for your favorite Student Entries

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