Friday, March 11, 2011

Advocacy Update: Week 8

Yvonne Castillo
TSA General Counsel

This week was about engineers filing numerous bills to expand their business opportunities to include architecture. It’s not enough that engineers are authorized to prepare mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil plans and specifications for buildings…they want it all, and are pushing very hard to change the law to give them the authority to prepare architectural plans for public buildings. It’s shameful really, but we have a plan that we’ve already implemented and we’ll be calling on all of you to help us implement it further at the grassroots level when appropriate. The architectural community should take note that the favorable Travis County District opinion has ramped up the engineers’ efforts in this regard.

We also spent a great deal of time negotiating with roofing contractors and others on the alternative project delivery bill that was simply intended to consolidate alternative project delivery methods. Everyone has come out of the woodwork this Session on this bill (despite its successful passage for two legislative sessions) and it’s looking like the bill is going to be boiled down to a very basic version.

Lastly, we supported a couple of bills: HB 611 that prohibits state agencies from using their own staff to provide “commercially available” architectural or engineering services on projects they do not own and HB 51 that promotes high performance standards for schools and state agencies.

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