12 May 2014

AIA Hawaii State Council Legislative Update

May 9, 2014
FROM:  Dan Chun, AIA Hawaii State Council President

Monitoring the bills and testifying on the bills here in Honolulu takes an effort. However, the task is made easier by Maui’s representation in the state legislature. Senator Roz Baker and Representative Angus McKelvey chair the consumer protection committees in the Hawaii Senate and House. Their past and continuing support, especially in the recent session, is notable and much appreciated by AIA. Please help us by showing your appreciation to them.

In most other states, AIA has a difficult time convincing legislators from less populated counties that architect issues are important. Most counties in the USA, some states have over hundred counties, have no architect businesses or practitioners. It really helps our profession that this is not the case in Hawaii.

Hence AIA is very committed to supporting a healthy architect profession across the state of Hawaii – not just in Honolulu. Our members operate some of the relatively few small businesses in local communities. We give more consumer choice and protection by being closer to the public. In addition, architects complement the local construction industry by having closer partners on each island.

In future, AIA hopes to strengthen our government affairs program by increasing local member knowledge about legislative issues important to architects and their businesses. Our Maui-based architects are very important to the wellbeing of all architects across the state. Thank you all again.


Hawaii State Legislative Update

AIA Hawaii State Council is responsible for monitoring state legislative bills important to architects. May I, 2014 was the final day of session and this is an update on two bills that AIA had strong interest in.

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 strongly supported Senate Bill 2581 CD I Relating to the State Building Code and it passed the legislature with important changes to the current state building code statute. Code updates will be “staggered” with no more than six years in between new code adoptions. Other jurisdictions have increasingly staggered adoptions because of complaints that the design and construction industry cannot keep up with some radically changed code sections. Voting membership is revised, adding BIA/GCA and Subcontractor’s Association and State Energy Office while removing the Department of Health. “Housekeeping” language is added to hopefully streamline future code adoptions by identifying “the Hawaii state building code(s)” as administrative rules to be amended instead of starting over each time using nationally published text. (Architects will recall the review of Honolulu 2006 IBC code amendments that substantially were the same as already amended for 2006 IBC that became 2006 state building code) Salaries and other costs had $136K appropriated. Original funding request was substantially reduced by bill supporters in response to forecast of reduced state tax collection. Senator Willie Espero was instrumental in moving this bill to passage. Bill supporters such as the State Fire Council, Kauai County and BIA Hawaii were very helpful.

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 bill and its House companion did not pass this session over disagreement with the Attorney General. Our thanks to Senator Clayton Hee for moving the bills as far as possible this session. Also our thanks to those architects who sent testimony supporting AIA position. Your efforts are helpful in framing the problem to the legislature.

AIA will proceed with a 2015 bill that likely bans the defense duty for architects-engineers and “sunsets” the defense duty for construction contractors one year after Notice of Project Completion. In between sessions, we are supposed to gather hard data related to the types of claims and timing of claims to support the bill’s concept. New State Procurement Office Administrator Sarah Allen needs more data in all procurement bills. In addition we need to convince the Attorney General by turning anecdotal evidence into numerical evidence. AIA will seek the help of our CGL and professional liability insurance carriers to gather claims data. If XL and other carriers cannot cover the duty to defend, they can at least help architects gather claims data.

A future update will cover some other bills related to architecture.

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