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AIA Forms Taskforce, Releases COVID-19 Webinar

Monday, April 6, 2020

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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Institute of Architects has launched a task force to help inform public officials, healthcare facility workers and architects on adapting buildings into temporary healthcare facilities.

The AIA has also provided a new webinar that addresses how provisions included in AIA contract documents can help address issues arising from the health crisis.

Task Force

“On a daily basis, I am hearing from our architects who feel a deep sense of moral duty to support our healthcare providers on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said AIA 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA.

“As our communities assess buildings to address growing surge capacity, we hope this task force will be a resource to ensure buildings are appropriately and safely adapted for our doctors and nurses.”

cgtoolbox / Getty Images

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Institute of Architects has launched a task force to help inform public officials, healthcare facility workers and architects on adapting buildings into temporary healthcare facilities.

The task force—led by environmental health scientist Molly Scanlon, FAIA, FACHA, who is the Director of Standards, Compliance and Research at Phigenics—is charged with developing a COVID-19 Rapid Response Safety Space Assessment for AIA members that will include considerations for the “suitability of buildings, spaces and other sites for patient care.”

The assessment is slated to be developed by architects with a wide range of expertise, including healthcare facility design, urban design, public health and disaster assistance.

“This is a race against time for healthcare facilities to meet bed surge capacity needs” said AIA Academy of Architecture for Health President Kirsten Waltz, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED, who is the director of facilities, planning and design at Baystate Health.

“This task force will help inform best practices for quickly assessing building inventory and identifying locations that are most appropriate to be adapted for this crisis.”

Document Webinar

“Businesses in the design and construction industry are currently reporting a variety of disruptions to projects, including work stoppages, workforce deficits, project cancellations, as well as material, equipment and supply shortfalls,” the AIA said, in a press release.

In the webinar, two AIA attorneys cover how construction contracts are designed to anticipate—and have mechanisms—to allocate risk, and potentially adjust project schedules, if a party is unable to complete contract obligations due to circumstances out of their control.

The webinar focuses on two specific documents— the A201-2017, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction and the B101-2017, Owner/Architect Agreement.

The webinar was originally recorded on March 27 and had more than 2,000 participants.

Other AIA Insights

Last month, Frederick, along with EVP/CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA, released a letter to Congress outlining a proposed infrastructure investment and addressing what it views as critical needs from small business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AIA requested investment in 21st Century Infrastructure as well as temporary relief measures for business owners.

The AIA proposed:

  • investing in Small Business Interruption Loans for businesses under 500 employees to cover the costs of payroll while employees may not be able to work due to their own health concerns or the effects of social isolation
  • increasing access to unsecured credit to all employers so that they can cover costs associated with payroll, rent and other obligations in the immediate term
  • suspending the collection of business taxes, including payroll tax, for the duration of the pandemic; and
  • suspending the current policy limiting what losses pass-through entities may deduct as many architecture firms are pass-through entities and they should be able to deduct all losses incurred this year in the next tax cycle.

The AIA also proposed sustained investment to revive the economy once the initial health crisis has passed.

“Infrastructure for the 21st Century should not only include investment in roads, bridges, and other horizontal infrastructure, though those updates are sorely needed,” the letter reads.

“Today’s infrastructure investment must also cover vertical infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, affordable housing, and other public buildings.”

The AIA proposes a minimum $300 billion investment over five years.

View all of PaintSquare Daily News' coverage on COVID-19, here.


Tagged categories: American Institute of Architects; American Institute of Architects (AIA); COVID-19; Health & Safety; Health Care/Hospitals; NA; North America; Webinars

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