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AIA Hawaii State Council

About the AIA Hawaii State Council

Hawaii Legislative Update

AIA Honolulu

AIA National - The American Institute of Architects

2016 Hawaii State Legislative Report

2015 Hawaii State Legislative Report
2014 Hawaii State Legislative Update
May 9, 2014
Submitted by: 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 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.

Hawaii State Legislative Update
Submitted by:  Dan Chun, FAIA
15 April 2014

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 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.


Sept 17, 2012

Following is the report on 2012 legislature by Dan Chun.


House Bill 2358 would have amended the current process. Strongly opposed by many public agencies and design professional societies. Passed the House and crossed over to Senate. Senator Will Espero removed all of the offending language, but Senate Ways & Means committee declined to hear the bill – perhaps because it was a “money bill” with no dollar value included. The bill died and the State Building Code Council (SBCC) is now left with no means of funding their important work of trying to unify and update building codes in the state.

AIA expresses its thanks to those members who sent letters supporting funding for the SBCC. Especially notable was support from AIA Hawaii Island Section and AIA Maui members. To date the governor’s office has opposed funding the SBCC. Governor Lingle never released the legislature’s appropriation and Governor Abercrombie sent a bill to abolish the SBCC.

Currently bills are being drafted for the 2013 legislative session to revise the more difficult procedures within the original SBCC adoption and to fund the SBCC. Funding options include set aside from state-funded construction, county building permit surcharges, set aside from design and construction DCCA licensing fees, portion of Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund or a combination from several sources. The AIA Hawaii State Council (HSC) will review any bills and adopt the official AIA position in the coming months.

Other legislative activity included bills to use the Art in Public Places Funds for performing arts, opposed by AIA and not passed. Procurement exemption for the University of Hawaii expired. The University did not have an exemption from the architect-engineer procurement law because AIA and ACEC consistently opposed this, and UH says it supports QBS procedures. Bills to adopt provisions of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) also died. The state administration says that the State Building Code Council already has the authority to adopt IGCC in whole or in part.

An early AIA and ACEC victory was achieved in opposing SB2075 / HB1769 whereby governmental agencies were only to be liable for the percentage share of the damages that they actually caused. AIA and ACEC were concerned that design professionals would be left jointly liable. Plaintiff lawyers also opposed.

The following Acts passed the 2012 legislature and became law. To read the detailed text go to and click on 2012 Acts arranged in numerical order with PDF files of the text. The text is in Ramseyer format with new language underlined and deleted language struck through.

ACT 83                      FIRE SPRINKLERING BAN
Prohibits counties from requiring installation or retrofitting of automatic fire sprinklers in (1) new or existing one- or two‑family dwelling units used only for residential purposes; and (2) non-residential agricultural and aquacultural buildings and structures located outside the urban area; provided that this does not apply to new homes that require a variance from access road or fire fighting water supply requirements. Effective July 1, 2012. (SB2397 HD3)

AIA took no position. Opposed by the fire departments. Supported by BIA Hawaii and other homebuilders opposed to this requirement in updated International Building Code.

ACT 89                      ELECTRIC VEHICLE PARKING
Clarifies the electric vehicle parking requirement. Allows an electric vehicle parking space with a charging system to be located anywhere in the parking lot or structure. Prohibits parking spaces designated for electric vehicles from displacing or reducing accessible stalls required by the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines. Effective January 1, 2013, imposes a warning on any person who parks an unauthorized vehicle in a space designated for electric vehicles. (SB2747 HD2)

AIA took no position. Applies to public gathering places with more than 100 parking spaces.

ACT 103                    ELEVATOR FEES
Establishes the boiler and elevator special fund to collect and deposit fees for inspections, permits, and examinations of boilers, pressure systems, elevators, kindred equipment, and amusement rides; provides for sufficient operating costs to carry out the purpose of the boiler and elevator safety law. Appropriates funds for start up costs. (CD1)

Requires each county to establish a list of agricultural buildings and structures that are exempt from existing building permit requirements no later than January 1, 2013. Beginning January 1, 2013, exempts specified nonresidential agricultural and aquacultural buildings and structures, and their appurtenances, located outside of the urban district from certain building permit requirements, under certain conditions, in the absence of a county exemption. Requires the department of the attorney general to establish a task force to examine conflicts between state statutes, county codes, and the interests of the agricultural and aquacultural industries and report potential solutions to the governor. (CD1)

AIA monitored past versions of this bill, but took no position. Last year’s bill passed by legislature, but vetoed by the Governor.

Limits department of land and natural resources fees for its comprehensive historic preservation program to amounts that are proportional to the nature and complexity of the projects or services provided, and adjusted from time to time to ensure that the proceeds, together with all other fines, income, and penalties collected under this chapter, do not surpass the annual operating costs of the comprehensive historic preservation program; requires development and implementation of interpretive signage for historic or cultural properties owned by the State and the counties. Requires the Hawaii historic places review board to develop policies on signage in historic districts. Effective July 1, 2012. (HB1972 CD1)

ACT 159                    CIVIL SERVICE EXEMPTION
Exempts temporarily from state civil service, persons hired or contracted to repair and maintain vacant state housing units. Effective July 1, 2012. (HB2302 CD1)

AIA and ACEC opposed original version of this bill that would have exempted Hawaii Housing Authority (HHA) from State Procurement Code – including QBS architect-engineer selection law. AIA and ACEC met with the agency and HHA agreed to modify the bill to remove offending language, restricting the exemption to civil service law.

ACT 173                    PROCUREMENT
Makes permanent the amendments made to section 103D-305, Hawaii Revised Statutes, by Act 175, Session Laws of Hawaii 2009. Amends section 103D-305, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to clarify procurement officer responsibilities; require procurements greater than $50,000 for construction to require performance and payment bonds; and require procurements of $25,000 to less than $250,000 to be made in accordance with small purchase procedures. Reenacts the amendments made to sections 103D-709, 103D-710(c), and 103D-710(e), Hawaii Revised Statutes, by Act 175, Session Laws of Hawaii 2009. (CD1)

AIA took no position on this bill that deals with bid protest procedures. Difficulty in dealing with bid protests are one of the chief reasons for agencies requesting broad exemption from the State Procurement Code.

ACT 174                    QBS EXEMPTION / Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL)           
Exempts expenditures less than $100,000 from the Hawaiian home operating fund, Hawaiian home receipts fund, Hawaiian home trust fund, native Hawaiian rehabilitation fund, and Hawaiian home administration account from the Hawaii public procurement code. Requires the DHHL to submit an annual report to the legislature. Repeals on June 30, 2015. (SD1)

AIA took no position on this bill.

ACT 180                    TAX CLEARANCES
Imposes fees to obtain a tax clearance or a certified copy of a tax clearance. (SB2868 HD1)

Requires the counties to concurrently process subdivision and SMA use permits under certain conditions to ensure that a SMA use permit is processed before final subdivision approval. (CD1)

ACT 244                    UNLICENSED CONTRACTING
Establishes unlicensed contracting activity as a misdemeanor offense; establishes habitual unlicensed contracting activity and unlicensed contractor fraud as felonies. Provides that each day of unlicensed contracting activity is a distinct and separate offense under certain circumstances. Exempts from the offense of unlicensed contracting activity an offense by a previously licensed licensee who inadvertently fails to renew an expired license. Effective 07/01/2012. (CD1)

ACT 260                    PROMPT PAYMENT
Shortens the time by which subcontractors are to receive progress and final payments from contractors on private construction projects. Provides interest penalties for late payments. Effective July 1, 2012. (SB2412 HD2)

AIA took no position. This act extends the current requirements of publicly funded construction to privately-funded construction.

Clarifies that all moneys collected as application fees or fees for continuing education units shall be deposited into the disability and communication access board special fund and that moneys in the fund shall be used to defray costs of administering chapter 348F, HRS. (SB2831 CD1)

ACT 277                    DCAB SPECIAL FUND
Requires the Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB) to charge fees to defray expenses of reviewing construction plans to ensure compliance with state and federal law relating to accessibility. Establishes a fee schedule. Effective 1/1/2013. (SD2)

AIA took no position. Opposed by other sectors of the construction industry.   It is noted that this sets a modest fee schedule for reviewing state-funded construction projects, with the money set aside for operating the agency.

ACT 287                    OUTDOOR LIGHT SHIELDING
Requires new and replacement state outdoor light fixtures in counties with a population of at least 100,000 to be fully shielded and to have a correlated color temperature of 4,000 Kelvin or less beginning July 1, 2014, with certain exemptions. (CD1)

AIA took no position. Required only of state agencies.