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Military funding bill leads energy efficiency and climate resiliency

Although the federal government has been delaying or rescinding programs that address alternative energy sourcing and climate resiliency, the Department of Defense (DoD) is looking at ways to reduce energy usage and protect military installations from the effects of climate change. Last month, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (Act) was signed into … Continue reading

Brad Pitt foundation embroiled in lawsuits

In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina, actor Brad Pitt founded the Make it Right foundation to rebuild safe and sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Led by GRAFT architects, the organization convened 21 world-renowned architects to design climate-adapted, eco-friendly homes inspired by William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle principles. Earlier this month, an … Continue reading

Millennium Tower continues to provide “lessons learned”

In previous posts earlier this year and last year, we detailed the ongoing disputes between Millennium Partners, the developer of the Millennium Tower in San Francisco, and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (Transbay), which built the recently opened Transbay Transit Center next to the tower. Millennium Partners contends that construction of the Transit Center weakened … Continue reading

Using AIA scope documents for non-traditional design services

Shortly after releasing the 2017 versions of the traditional owner-architect agreements, the AIA Contract Documents Committee published detailed scope of services agreements that assign professional duties to supplement or replace traditional services. These AIA specialty services documents can be added to any base owner/architect agreement to form a contract. B201-2017, Standard Form of Architect’s Services: … Continue reading

How climate change is changing the standard of care

This intriguing issue was recently addressed by attorneys Elena Mihaly, William Franczek, and Andrew P. Selman in an article published in the summer 2018 issue of the Journal of the American College of Construction Lawyers. Their article was also part of a larger study, Climate Adaptation and Liability: A Legal Primer and Workshop Summary Report. … Continue reading

Protecting public health and safety in the wake of Genoa bridge tragedy

A sudden bridge collapse in the heart of Genoa, Italy killed over 40 people on August 14. The bridge was completed in 1967. The bridge fell 148 feet, taking about three dozen cars and three trucks with it. The bridge was known to have been in deteriorating condition and required constant repair work since its … Continue reading

Painting the town white

Temperatures are rising and cities, in particular, are feeling the heat as a result of a phenomenon known as “Urban Heat Island effect.” An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area that’s much warmer than surrounding rural areas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, temperatures in US cities can get as much as 10 … Continue reading

Design professionals score win in California

California architects, engineers, and land surveyors can continue to organize as limited liability partnerships thanks to the work of the AIA California Council (AIA CC) and ACEC California, with assistance from Victor O. Schinnerer & Company. Senate Bill 920, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on July 20, 2018, extends the sunset date of … Continue reading

Court scrutinizes definition of surveying services

The Mississippi Board of Professional Engineers and Surveyors (Board) sued Vizaline in September 2017, alleging that Vizaline is offering services that require a surveyors license. Vizaline’s computer program takes the metes and bounds description of property and draws the polygon on a map for banks that need accurate property descriptions. The Board is alleging that … Continue reading

Energy efficiency benefit comes under scrutiny

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 extended a number of provisions that had expired at the end of 2016. Among these provisions was Section 179D, Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction, now available for newly constructed buildings or building improvements placed in service during 2017. The deduction is available to owners and tenants of commercial properties … Continue reading