Latest News

Important Notice for K-12 from BBS

The Board of Building Standards has updated its BBS Memo regarding the moratorium for storm shelters in Group E occupancies to include the following:

September 2020 Update: HB 164 adopted by the Ohio General Assembly on June 11, 2020, amended R.C. 3781.1010 to extend the storm shelter moratorium to November 30, 2022.

The updated Memo can be found here. 

If you have questions related to information contained in the Memo, please contact the Board’s technical staff at 614-644-2613 or at bbs@com.state.oh.us.

AIA Responds to Trump Administration Rollback of Fair Housing Policy

HUD rollback of Fair Housing policy puts communities at risk

Housing inequities in American communities will be exacerbated by dismantled rule.

WASHINGTON – July 29, 2020 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) condemns the recently announced rollback of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) provision (2015) of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

Under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, communities receiving federal subsidies were required to analyze racial segregation in housing and then submit plans to reverse such trends. The AFFH rule had been weakened in recent years. In 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) eliminated the Local Government Assessment Tool, which was designed to help local governments combat racial segregation in subsidized housing. However, the Administration’s latest actions have officially nullified the original AFFH rule and its intent.

“AIA strongly opposes the Administration’s dismantling of this critical rule,” said AIA EVP/Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “Our federal government should confront the legacy of discriminatory housing policies as intended in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, not shrink away from the responsibility of ensuring our communities are equitable. At such a critical moment in time for addressing racial inequity, it’s clear we need to do more, not less, to provide equitable opportunity to all Americans, especially for a basic human need such as shelter.”

AIA has had a longstanding commitment to equitable communities, including advocating for affordable housing initiatives. On Jan. 24, AIA 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA, and AIA 2019 President Bill Bates, FAIA, met with the HUD assistant secretary for policy development and research to share AIA’s affordable housing priorities. Additionally, AIA provided comment on Jan. 31—following a request from HUD leadership—regarding the Administration’s call to eliminate regulatory barriers to affordable housing.

Learn more about AIA’s advocacy efforts online.

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Ohio Valley Region Practice Innovation Lab | 2019

AIA OVR Practice Innovation Lab // 2019

Congratulations to Team SNDBX, winner of the People’s Choice Award!

The AIA Ohio Valley Region held a Practice Innovation Lab in conjunction with the AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention in Cincinnati on September 19.  Over 25 individuals participated in the event which was generously hosted by BHDP Architecture.  Four teams were created and they spent the day envisioning the future of the practice of architecture.  Their work was presented on Friday, Sept. 20, as the keynote presentation at the AIA Ohio Valley Region Convention. 

The Practice Innovation Lab was sponsored by the AIA Ohio Valley Region, and funded with generous contributions from Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc., the CNA Insurance Companies, and The AIA Trust, providers of the AIA Trust Professional Liability Insurance Program and the AIA College of Fellows.

Supreme Court Overturns Local Hiring Preferences

September 24, 2019

In a landmark decision, today the Ohio Supreme Court held that R.C. 9.75 is a lawful enactment of the Ohio General Assembly, in prohibiting local hiring preferences in construction projects.
 
That section provides that “No public authority shall require a contractor, as part of a prequalification process or for the construction of a specific public improvement or the provision of professional design services for that public improvement, to employ as laborers a certain number or percentage of individuals who reside within the defined geographic area or service area of the public authority.”
 
The City of Cleveland Ordinance Chapter 188 nevertheless remained on the books, requiring that a minimum of 20 percent of the total construction work hours be performed by Cleveland residents, and that no fewer than 4 percent of those resident work hours be performed by low-income persons.
 
Cleveland sued the State of Ohio claiming that its Ordinance prevailed over the state prohibition under Constitutional “home rule” authority.
 
The Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County) found the state statute unconstitutional, ruling that, “It is readily apparent that R.C. 9.75 is no more than an attempt to preempt powers of local self-government and to restrict the contract terms between public authorities and contractors who choose to bid on local public improvement contracts.”
 
The State of Ohio appealed. On June 29, 2018, AIA Ohio filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of the State of Ohio, to prevent local residency quota requirements in public works construction. 
 
The decision and briefing of the other parties are available on the Supreme Court’s website at: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/#/caseinfo/2018/0097

Ohio Capitol Connection

Facilities Commission Cites Improvements in 2018 Review

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) received its “2018 Executive Director’s Report” Thursday (10/25/2018), which provided a broad overview of its activities over the past year, highlighting the increase in projects being completed on-time and on-budget.

Commission staff member Jeff Westhoven informed the body that 88.9 percent of projects were on or under budgets, 77.8 percent of projects were on or ahead of schedule and 100 percent of agency facilities have been condition assessed within the past fiscal year, among other positive indicators.

In the Ohio Auditor’s FY17 Report, no negative findings appeared, and the OFCC is currently overseeing more than $2.1 billion worth of projects.

He said 61 percent of Ohio school districts have received interactions from the OFCC, which is a key way new construction projects are affecting Ohioans. He highlighted news clippings lauding new school facilities, and he showed a picture of young students in their new building for the first time, noting a “100 percent smile rate.”

Having happy students can decrease absenteeism rates, he said, which can be improved by modernizing school learning environments.

He added that Ohio is the top state in the nation for its number of environmentally friendly schools, with 321 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified schools. According to Westhoven, schools using the Ohio School Design Manual typically save $100,000 in annual energy costs.

Regarding state services, Westhoven said new energy practices in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Ohio Department of Administrative services have saved the state over $50 million annually.

In addition, he said one-of-five Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) dollars is spent towards OFCC projects.

Looking at the recent consolidation of three organizations into the OFCC (formerly the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the Office of State Architect and the Cultural Facilities Grants Program), Westhoven said that was a success as well. He noted a 17 percent reduction in spending on personnel and leased space, an adoption of the best practices of each organization and a streamlined information technology system that allows for quicker processing and completion of contracts.

Also during the meeting, the OFCC approved its “Priority Order of Assistance List” that determines which schools are next in line to receive renovations and it approved a “Master Facilities Plan and Project Agreement” for construction and renovations in Little Miami Local School District. The full cost of that project is expected to be $51.6 million.

2018-1019 Group Rating Safety Accountability Letter

July 2018

Dear Employer:

Each year Ohio employers have the opportunity to participate in BWC’s Group-Experience-Rating Program or Group-Retrospective-Rating Program. While these programs are not required, they do provide you with an opportunity to significantly reduce your workers’ compensation premiums, while increasing your awareness of safety and risk-management strategies.

Workplace safety is an important component of these programs. To succeed in accident prevention, we encourage you to use the many resources available to you. We believe a group-rating program is a partnership that includes you and your employees, your sponsoring organization or third-party administrator (TPA) and BWC. Each has specific roles and responsibilities, all designed to assist in preventing workplace accidents. This letter outlines the safety services expectations you should have as an employer enrolled in a group-rating program.

The employer will:

  • Maintain a safe workplace;
  • Attend safety training to enhance workplace safety;
  • Use BWC’s safety services as needed;
  • Fulfill the required two-hour training requirement and provide proof of attendance to sponsor for claim(s) occurring within the last year.

The certified primary and affiliated sponsoring organizations will:

  • Sponsor eight hours of safety training (this may be done at one time or may be provided incrementally as long as the total is at least eight hours);
  • Provide information regarding safety resources to group members;
  • Possibly assist an employer in achieving its safety needs;
  • Manage employer fulfillment of the two-hour training requirement, where applicable;
  • Publish this letter to group members.

The TPA may:

  • Assist sponsoring organizations with fulfilling the group-rating safety requirements;
  • Assist an employer with its safety needs;
  • Work in conjunction with sponsors to develop safety training and deliver safety resources;
  • Provide resources for claims handling.

BWC will:

  • Monitor all group-rating safety activities to confirm requirements are met;
  • Remain in communication with sponsoring organizations to provide recommendations for fulfilling safety requirements;
  • Provide safety training through Ohio’s Center for Occupational Safety & Health;
  • Offer on-site safety consultation (hazard assessments, air and noise monitoring, ergonomics evaluation, training) by a BWC safety professional;
  • Offer publications and videos for safety program support;
  • Conduct employer visits to confirm the employer is meeting group-rating requirements, when appropriate.

The goal of this collaborative effort is to make sure all your safety needs are met. Using these resources will assist you in preventing accidents, reducing claims costs and achieving the highest discounts possible. Below you’ll find contact information for various resources.

Group sponsor:
TPA: CareWorksComp  www.careworkscom.com
BWC: https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/employer/services/safetyhygiene.asp, groupratingsafety@bwc.state.oh.us

Opponents of Occupational Licensing Bill Testify (SB 255)

The Senate Oversight and Reform Committee took testimony April 11 on SB255 which would require standing committees of the General Assembly to periodically review occupational licensing boards regarding their sunset, and to require the Legislative Service Commission to perform assessments of occupational licensing bills and state regulation of occupations.

AIA Ohio is working with interested parties on an amendment to the bill that would emphasize the level of national licensure and the substantial equivalency of the license.  Sen. McColley has indicated he might accept such an amendment to section 101.63(c)(6).

During the Committee hearing, Joseph Warino, representing the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), testified as an opponent to the bill. He said the bill would “threaten licensing of engineers in the state.

“Adopting a policy of ‘least restrictive regulation’ guidelines for registration could only serve to reduce the knowledge and experience necessary, resulting in substandard qualified engineers to preserve the health and safety of Ohio’s residents.”

Warino added, “The practice of professional licensure has worked well over many years and it should remain in place.”

Also testifying on the bill as an interested party was David Pritchard of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who said the current system of licensure within Ohio is working well and has since 1933.

The committee also received written testimony from Wade Baer of the Ohio Auctioneers Association and Keith Kerns of the Ohio Optometric Association.