Terry Welker, AIA
Ohio is Flat
Award winning journalist Thomas Friedman, author of The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century uses the “flat earth” metaphor to describe the affect of globalization of commerce and competition. The world of business is getting continually flatter, creating an ever more competitive level playing field. So what does that mean to Ohio architects? Is Ohio flat? When we look at Friedman’s list “flatteners” the answer becomes obvious.
Friedman’s flatteners are:
- #1: Collapse of Berlin Wall–11/’89: everyone now gets to participate.
- #2: Netscape: everyone now has access more info than they can ever use because of the internet. And we depend on it.
- #3: Workflow software: collaboration is now unfettered. Project teams are virtual and machines talk to machines.
- #4: Open sourcing: blogs, wikiness, downloading, uploading anything and everything. Knowledge is being created at light speed by a wider number of participants. The roles of contractors, architects and owners are being blurred.
- #5: Outsourcing: everyone has a specialty. It’s not enough to just be an architect.
- #6: Offshoring: 24/7 large firms have been doing this for years. Now the small firms are seeing the capabilities.
- #7: Supply chaining: technology is streamlining practice and integrated project delivery in ways we never imagined 10 years ago.
- #8: Insourcing: Architects are now serving each other and clients by offering newer and more unique services than they ever have before.
- #9: In-forming: Just say Google.
- #10: “The Steroids”: cell phones, I-Pods, Blackberries – life is a charette.
You can see the effects of flattening. For example, small firms can behave like large firms by flexing their virtual capability – everyone has a big screen. And, large firms are often trying to look small firms to provide more nimble responsiveness – you too can have the best and brightest on your project. Information is our new currency.
In the world of free trade we have to decide as architects whether we will lead or follow. In a recent straw poll of a room full of 25 architects and professionals (most over 40 years old), 100% had Googled. Over half the room had Blackberries or PDA’s. When asked how many read blogs or wrote blogs, only four raised their hands. If the room had been full of interns the response would have been much different. I think the same four had people I-Pods and that leads me to my next challenge to you.
When it comes to surviving the down economy or even coming out ahead, there’s a wealth of information on the AIA PodNet for the Practice Management Knowledge Community sponsored in part by the AIA Associates. No, you don’t need an I-Pod or unusual software to listen. Just go to http://www.aia.org/pm_news_podcasts and click on a topic to listen to on your computer – it will take care of the rest. If you have trouble, just ask a young architect or intern to help shine a bright light on our future as a profession for you.
By David W. Field, CAE, Hon. AIA
AIA-Ohio, Executive Vice President
Construction Reform Panel Appointed
At Governor Ted Strickland’s request a Construction Reform Panel has been established to conduct a broad review of the State’s design and construction practices and to identify opportunities for improvement. A wide group of construction related organizations have been invited to participate.
Representing the architects will be past AIA-Ohio President, Regional Director and current AIA Treasurer, Hal Munger, FAIA, Toledo. Hal has worked with the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) on projects and area universities his entire career and more recently with the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). He currently chairs the AIA Building & Headquarters Renewal Committee that is using an Integrated Project Delivery system. He has also been part of previous industry discussions on multi-prime/single prime and CM at risk.
According to Rick Hickman, Assistant Director, DAS, “construction reform is Ohio’s commitment to increase quality, reduce costs and employ the latest technology and techniques for building design and construction for Ohio’s public construction projects.”
The Panel is specifically charged with conducting a thorough review of the current design and construction laws and practices and comparing this information with both public and private sector best practices. Construction reform presents the State’s opportunity to improve the construction process to improve quality and save taxpayer money while providing for fair competition, transparency and accountability. This effort to overhaul the State’s construction system is expected to result in recommendations that will provide a road map for advancing Ohio‘s construction practices.
“Effective and efficient construction administration policies, procedures and practices can have a significant impact on the accountability and value for many aspects of construction performed for the State and its political subdivisions. The potential for real savings from more effective construction policies and practices is great,” according to Hickman.
The full panel will meet for approximately 4 full-day sessions over the next several months. Sessions are being planned 4 to 6 weeks apart in order to allow time for sub-panel working groups to meet. These working groups will discuss issues and concerns, and will formulate recommendations for consideration by the full panel.
Jeff Appelbaum will facilitate our panel meetings. He is Managing Director, Project Management Consultants, LLC, Partner/Chairman of Construction Law Group, Thompson Hine LLP, Cleveland.
Studies including one conducted by the U.S. Department of Commerce have shown that productivity in the construction industry has not improved since 1964, while manufacturing productivity has doubled. Manufacturing has modernized their delivery systems, including but not limited to the principles and techniques demonstrated by J. Edwards Deming to the Japanese after World War II. This has caused a revolution in their processes that has no equivalent in the construction industry that has continued to build as it always has.
With billions of dollars spent on critical capital improvements, it is essential for the state to implement and benefit from best practices that enhance the overall building process. To remain competitive the state needs to streamline current process and law related to design and construction of capital improvements to take advantage of these industry trends toward best practices.
Major industry trends include:
1. A move to integrated project delivery models that reinforce early collaboration and decision making to increase overall value to building owners;
2. Strategic leveraging of technology to facilitate project management and improve design and construction through Building Information Modeling (BIM); and
3. Increased priority to build sustainable structures and systems that are energy efficient and green.
A common complaint is that the architect and engineer are isolated in their offices and not sufficiently experienced with resolving construction issues in the field. The professions are said to have brought some of this reputation onto themselves with eschewing responsibility for construction means and methods, supervision of construction, safety, and numbers other issues and placing these in the domain of the contractor or construction manager.
The State Architect’s Office (SAO) has attempted to mitigate this by requiring a constructability review consultant on projects that exceed $500,000. According to SAO, this has been very beneficial and has tangible benefits that can readily be observed on a project-by-project basis. However, SAO has not been tracking these benefits and cannot offer anything but anecdotal evidence. SAO also believes that this process is not a panacea for all issues as it occasionally observes costs for problems that were not discovered during this process.
State administrators are also concerned with the contentiousness that exists between the distinct parties on a construction project. SAO’s effort to respond to this issue has been to require a schedule consultant to create and update the construction progress schedule. They believe that this attempts to provide a schedule that is fair to all contractors without creating a hardship on any of the contractors. In spite of this, SAO says it still sees some projects for having all contractors approve a schedule is extremely difficult.
Objectives and Scope:
According to DAS, the Construction Reform Panel will examine building design, bidding construction and maintenance procedures and experiences with a focus on looking at ways to improve quality, save costs for taxpayers and bring more value-for-money spent to the construction process. As state agencies face mandates to more efficiently manage their spending, the State must develop strategies to improve construction and building maintenance procedures without negatively impacting the range or quality of government services. Goals and key success factors of this initiative include flexibility, accountability, transparency and efficiency.
The target areas for improving Ohio’s procurement practices include:
· Flexibility: Update design and construction laws, policies and procedures to remove unnecessary steps and improve cost savings and the quality of construction.
· Accountability: Establish measures that improve compliance and performance
· Transparency: Assess competency of the current design and construction delivery model against “best practices.”
· Efficiency: Implement management and process alternatives to design and construction that have been proven successful in the private sectors.
Bottom Line: DAS believes that the time has come for more collaborative approach to emerge in public construction that can be applied by a contracting authority based upon the best available options to complete capital construction projects.
$77 Million in Historic Preservation Tax Credits Move Ahead
The state has announced another $77 million in historic preservation tax credits, which are expected to leverage another $464 million for private investment in urban renewal and other redevelopment projects. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher announced 48 separate tax credit awards for historic commercial and residential structures at a press conference in Cincinnati‘s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
“The redevelopment of historic assets across our state … will help attract investments leading to improvements in our downtowns and neighborhoods,” said Fisher, who leads the Ohio Department of Development. “Historic Preservation Tax Credits will revitalize historically significant buildings that expand the tax base of our local communities and allow for the
restoration of properties that are important symbol of Ohio‘s history.”
Gov. Ted Strickland added to those comments in a follow-up release. “Ohio‘s economic turnaround depends on the vibrancy and strength of our cities and small towns. By restoring historical buildings across Ohio, these investments will mean a better quality of life for Ohio families and economic development opportunities for Ohio businesses.” The Historic Preservation Tax Credit is part of the $1.57 billion bipartisan Job Stimulus Plan, HB554 (Hottinger), which
seeks to create new jobs while laying the foundation for future economic prosperity. In the plan, $120 million was set aside for the tax credit, and of the $120 million, $90 million was allocated for eligible projects not awarded credits in the program’s first round last spring.
“By awarding tax credits to the owners of these historic buildings, the state is helping to not only revitalize these areas, but also to ensure that these notable landmarks are preserved for future generations to discover and appreciate,” said Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) with support from the Senate Minority Leader Ray Miller (D-Columbus).
“We are pleased that as part of the Jobs Stimulus Plan we are able to bolster the rich character of Ohio‘s neighborhoods and communities,” said Miller. “The Historic Preservation Tax Credits awarded today will help to drive local business and residential development and grow jobs for Ohioans.”
House leaders also weighed in. “We recognize that Main Street America is suffering….” said House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering). “This represents another step forward in our economic stimulus package approved earlier this year.” House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) shared similar thoughts. “This is just one of the many targeted investments we fought for to jumpstart Ohio‘s economy during the national slowdown,” said Beatty. “These tax credits
will help develop and preserve areas that may have otherwise been forgotten as key assets in our economic turnaround. Building up our infrastructure is critical to positioning Ohio for long-term prosperity, and this is a great way to show that commitment.”
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program provides recipients tax credits equal to 25 percent of qualified rehabilitation expenditures. Ohio‘s Historic Preservation Office determines that rehabilitation plans comply with United States Interior Department Standards for Treatment of Historic Properties.
Of 48 newly announced recipients, 22 are for FY10 are 26 are for FY11. A complete list of the latest Historic Preservation Tax Credit recipients may be found at the ODOD web link,http://development.ohio.gov/newsroom/releases/press.htm?id=1483.
The “Six-Month Rule”
In June, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ (NCARB) Member Boards passed a rule requiring interns to submit their training units in reporting periods of no longer than six months. The “Six-Month Rule,” as it has been nicknamed, will go into effect on 1 July 2009 for interns who begin an NCARB Record on or after that date and 1 July 2010 for all interns regardless of application date. All training unit reports must be submitted electronically and within two months of completion of each reporting period.
Things Supervisors and Interns Should Know:
• The “Six-Month Rule” is designed to improve both the accuracy of reporting and the overall IDP experience. The IDP Guidelines have long recommended that interns submit reports to NCARB every four months. Under the new rule, interns will be required to report training units earned in intervals of no more than six months. However, they can submit reports more often if they wish.
• Regular reporting will provide an opportunity for interns and supervisors to review progress made over reporting periods and develop a plan for acquiring training in the remaining areas. This benefit should help prevent interns from being surprised by falling short of required training units as they near the end of their internship. Supervisors will also be more familiar with the work documented and therefore would be more likely to approve training reports.
• Implementation of the “Six-Month Rule” is dependent on an online reporting system. The electronic Experience Verification Reporting system (e-EVR) will be available by the end of December, but the “Six-Month Rule” will not go into effect until at least six months after the online reporting system is launched. Should the new system not be fully tested and operational by 31 December 2008, each implementation date will be pushed back and will go into effect six months after the system is operational.
• Once interns have submitted their training units by entering them into their Record online, those units are protected while any loose ends are tied up. Interns will not be affected by any delay caused by their supervisor or NCARB. However, submitted training units can be lost if they are deemed invalid by their supervisor, or if they are not earned in accordance with the rules of IDP.
• The “Six-Month Rule” allows parents of newborn infants or newly adopted children to receive a six month extension of the reporting deadline upon proper application. Extensions for active military service and serious medical conditions are also available.
All of the provisions of the “Six-Month Rule” are designed to make every internship experience more constructive and valuable. The rule will greatly improve the accuracy of reporting, which should help reduce the amount of time it takes interns to complete the IDP.
NCARB’s Committee on the IDP has compiled the following examples of the basic methodology of the “Six-Month Rule.”
An intern taking maximum advantage of the reporting and filing periods would have through August 30 to report Training Units that were earned during the six month period starting January 1 and ending June 30. While the reporting period is a maximum of six months, the filing period could be any time on or after June 30 through August 30.
Same example as above, but there is an incidental problem with the report or supplementary information is required and it takes additional time for NCARB and the intern to resolve. The intern may still count the time between January 1 and June 30 once the problem is resolved and accepted by NCARB.
An intern reporting Training Units earned between January 15 and April 14 must report these Training Units by June 14, two months after the end of the period being reported. If, for some reason, an intern missed his or her intended filing date of June 14, because only four months of Training Units were being reported, the intern could extend the reporting period and not lose any credits. It is anticipated that the online reporting form will advise the intern at the time he or she is filing the report that the filing date is more than two months after the end of the reporting period and, if such is the case, also advise that either a longer period must be reported (but never more than six months) or a later beginning date to the reporting period must be entered. So, if the intern missed the intended filing date of June 14 and actually filed on July 1, he or she could file on July 1 for the reporting period beginning on January 15 and ending on May 1.
If an intern attempts to file a Training Unit report on October 3 for a period covering January 15 through July 14, the report will not be accepted. The intern must recalculate and resubmit the report. In this example, February 4 is the earliest possible start date for a Training Unit report submitted on October 3 and any units accumulated from January 15 through February 3 would be lost. If February 4 was used as the start date, then the reporting period would end on August 3, six months later, and the intern could file his or her report on October 3.
An intern has become a new parent or adopted a child on January 15. Before taking a leave of absence on January 1, the intern had completed six months of work (July 1 – December 31). Whereas the intern would normally be expected to file the Training Unit report by February 28, following a documented and approved request the intern would be given until August 31 to file this report.
An intern has been called to active military duty on January 15. Before this event, the intern had worked until December 31, having completed six months of work (July 1 – December 31) that could be reported for Training Unit credit. Whereas the intern would normally be expected to submit the Training Unit report by February 28, following a documented and approved request, the intern would be given a reasonable extension for filing this report following the intern’s end of active military duty.
Similar to Example 6, an intern who has experienced a serious medical condition could, with appropriate and approved documentation from a licensed medical doctor overseeing the intern’s care, be allowed a reasonable extension of the two-month filing period.
Interns will soon be able to enter their Intern Development Program (IDP) training units online with the electronic Experience Verification Reporting system (e-EVR). Even though the e-EVR and the “Six-Month Rule” will work in tandem beginning 1 July 2009, they are two separate NCARB initiatives. The e-EVR will become the standard way for Record holders to submit Experience Verification Reports before the “Six-Month Rule” goes into effect.
The e-EVR is part of NCARB’s Business Process Reengineering (BPR) Plan to improve customer service. Now one-third of the way through the three-year plan, the Council has already taken numerous steps to reduce processing time, including implementing the online application in August 2007, the online request for early eligibility in October 2007, and online renewal in August 2008.
The e-EVR launch date will be announced on www.ncarb.org as well as through mail and e-mail communications. Interns should begin using the e-EVR as soon it is launched, as it offers many benefits over the paper employment verification form, which will be quickly phased out.
Benefits of e-EVR
• Interns can enter their training units over any timeframe (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or every six months). Units may be saved as work-in-progress and submitted for their supervisor’s review at a later date.
• e-EVR will prevent some common errors, reducing the possibility of rejection during the evaluation process.
• Once interns submit an online report, their supervisor is automatically notified via e-mail that a training unit report is available for review and approval.
• Interns can check their IDP progress at any time by logging on to “My NCARB Record.” They will be able to see which training units have been completed, which are pending supervisor approval, and which training areas still require additional documentation.
• The IDP progress report enables interns to identify training area deficiencies sooner so they can work with their supervisor and mentor to develop a plan to gain exposure to these areas.
• The system includes a message center that allows interns to track NCARB communications about their reports.
The last date to test ARE 3.1 divisions is 30 June 2009.
The last date to attempt to schedule an ARE 3.1 appointment is 27 June 2009. Please note that appointments are made on a first come, first served basis, and will be based on availability at your local test center. Appointment availability cannot be guaranteed. Please allow enough time in advance of these dates to begin scheduling appointments for any remaining ARE 3.1 divisions for which you are eligible.
ARE 3.1 Retakes
Candidates currently eligible to take ARE 3.1 divisions should keep in mind that if they take and fail any ARE 3.1 division on or after 1 January 2009, they will not be permitted to retake that division due to NCARB’s mandatory six-month waiting period. No Exceptions will be made to the six-month retake policy.