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AIA Ohio News

AIA Ohio’s Legislative affairs program provides information and leadership through advocacy and monitoring of legislation and regulations at the state level.  By collaborating with allied professionals, industry representatives, code officials, and state and local representatives, AIA Ohio strives to build strategic alliances to address issues of public health, safety and welfate, design excellence and in advancing the quality of life through the built environment.

As advocates of innovative approaches to legislation, AIA Ohio advances state regulations that benefit the practice of architecture and promotes good design that positively affects the quality of life of for all citizens of Ohio. Through our efforts, AIA Ohio works to educate the public and legislators on a wide facet of issues relating to architecture including:

  • Qualification Based Selection
  • Historic Preservation
  • Sustainable Design
  • Building Code development and regulation
  • Statute of repose

Working through our highly qualified staff and experienced membership, AIA Ohio proposes regulations, positions architects as leaders, and tracks and responds to legislation that benefits both architects and users of the built environment alike. Additionally, through our Political Action Committee, we strive to support legislation, and allies in the legislature, that advances the needs of our members.

Legislative Action Alert: Ohio House Puts QBS In Jeopardy: Contact your Senator Today!

Qualification Based Selection (QBS) of architects is in jeopardy from an amendment that the House of Representatives added to the state's Budget Bill, Sub. HB 49.  Please contact your state Senator today asking that the Senate remove this amendment.

Background:
In 2012-2013, comprehensive construction reform provided the most significant change to Ohio’s public construction law in more than 130 years.  One positive result of this collaboration between industry and government was the centralization of construction authority into OFCC, creating consistency and transparency in Ohio’s public construction projects. 

This House amendment to the state’s Budget Bill, Sub. HB 49, takes a step backward by allowing for the establishment of a second construction authority in the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), causing confusion, inconsistency and the potential of significant legal entanglements.

Details:
The language would allow DAS to award its own design and construction contracts as “supplies” or “services” contracts under R.C. Chapter 125, thereby circumventing R.C. Chapter 153 construction law.  Using this language, DAS could authorize a private third-party administrator to bid and award construction contracts, without the transparency and fair processes required under ORC 153.  Further, DAS could use its cooperative purchasing authority to extend this same contract to all political subdivisions.  The state’s construction authority, OFCC, could not challenge these contracts since “a contract awarded by DAS takes precedence over the commission’s authority” according to the bill.

AIA Ohio Believes:
This language is not in the best interests of public construction in Ohio because:

·  It bypasses the competitive processes and protections of standard construction under ORC Chapter 153, including advertising, bonding, subcontractor protections, etc.;

·  It creates a path for all political subdivisions to avoid competitive bidding for construction;

·  It makes the award of construction contracts less transparent;

·  It breeds confusion and a sense of unfairness within the design and construction industry in Ohio;

·  It provides no legal recourse to challenge the appropriateness of a construction contract awarded by a non-construction agency (DAS).

The Ask:
AIA Ohio has uploaded the parts of Sub. HB 49 that include this language here.  Please ask your state Senator to remove the language that is shown Please ask your state Senator to remove the language that is shown highlighted in red boxes.

Budget Bill Scheduled for Senate Vote June 21

Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Medina) says he expects to unveil a substitute budget bill around Monday, June 12 and bring the bill to the Senate floor around Wednesday, June 21. He said he's aiming to arrive at net spending reductions from the introduced version of $800 million, in line with recent revenue shortfalls, but said his caucus is trying to keep in mind that the revenue picture could still get worse when a full forecast is released in June. He said estimates of how much the House actually cut in its version of HB49 (R. Smith) depends on evaluation of the underlying policy decisions.

 

Interior Designers Oppose Sales Tax Extension

Two interior designers testified against the proposed extension of the sales tax to interior designers during an April 5 hearing before the House Finance Committee studying the state's Budget Bill, HB 49.

Tamra Fuscaldo, an interior designer representing the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Ohio Kentucky Chapter, said she opposed the expansion of sales tax on interior design services.  "Simply stated, IIDA and its members are opposed to the expansion of sales tax on interior design because taxing commercial interior design services adds costs to public and private building construction costs, and would clearly hinder companies seeking to expand or bring their business to the state of Ohio," she said.

"Professional services should not be taxed as they are not a commodity," Fuscaldo continued. "The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals. We are not a luxury or a discretionary service and should not be taxed as such."

Tracy Phelps, an interior designer from Mentor's Laura Gills Interior Design, said she opposed the expansion of sales tax on interior design services.

 

"As a young, striving designer, I chose this profession and to stay in Ohio because there was great potential for this industry. I, like many of the current students studying for their degree in interior design at many of our institutions across Ohio, fear that a tax on our services would stifle opportunities for our future in our state," she said. "Our profession is already competitive in nature and must have a balance between good design, best price, and best value. I feel that if this provision were to stay in HB49, Ohio's interior designers would be placed at an extreme disadvantage and opportunities in Ohio for graduates of interior design would be drastically reduced." 

Senate OKs New School Facilities Option for Ohio Districts (SB8)

Ohio schools could forego large-scale construction and renovation projects through the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) in favor of state assistance with smaller upgrades to meet specific needs under a measure the Senate adopted unanimously May 17.

Sens. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) and Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati) initially proposed SB8 to address technology and security upgrades, but a substitute bill unveiled earlier this week in the Senate Education Committee would allow a broader array of projects, such as repairs or addition of classroom space. 

Gardner said the proposal for a one-to-one matching program represents a "new era" of facilities assistance, answering concerns he'd heard from superintendents who did not anticipate ever pursuing full OSFC projects but had other specific construction needs. 

"It also, on paper, takes away potentially billions of dollars in obligated funds that would otherwise go to these districts," Gardner said. He emphasized that the bill does not change eligibility rankings or rules for traditional OSFC projects.

"When your number comes up, and you haven't participated [in OSFC projects] to date, you have this additional option, which is a smaller amount of state funds, but it's also a lesser local match," he said.

Terhar said some districts that are considered wealthier but have older populations are mostly "tapped out" in their ability to pass levies, and this provides them an option. He also noted the need for older school buildings to receive security upgrades, given that the old pattern of putting the school office in the center of the building is no longer useful to addressing security threats.

Hearing on Structural Design Rule Set for April 14

The Department of Commerce will hold an April 14  hearing on a proposed Rule 4101:1-16-01 regarding Structural Design.   

 

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