Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Regulatory News and Updates

David Lancaster, Hon. AIA
Texas Architects
Senior Manager of Advocacy
August 29, 2011

TDLR—New TAS Hopes to Track 2010 ADA Accessibility Guidelines
Based on the recommendation of its Architectural Barriers Advisory Committee (ABAC), the Texas Licensing & Regulation Commission authorized publishing the agency’s proposed new Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS) in the Texas Register for public comment. The deadline for public comment is October 2, 2011.

The ABAC and TDLR staff both committed publicly to keeping the language for any update of the state’s accessibility standard as close to the exact wording of the 2010 ADAAG as possible, a goal that the Society is also on record of supporting. Click here to go to the TDLR website where a PDF of the official posting is available for download.

Texas Facilities Commission—Public-Private Partnership (P3) Standards
At its August 17 meeting, the Facilities Commission (TFC) approved the staff’s recommended language setting out rules and standards for proposing joint private-public projects, as required in SB 1048, which became effective September 1.

TFC is charged with establishing the general state guidelines. Other public entities that wish to take advantage of a P3 development opportunity must either use TFC’s specific language, or adopt its own guidelines following a similar process to this. Click here for a link to the TFC web site.

Comptroller of Public Accounts—IECC News and Opportunities
Check out the State Energy Conservation Office’s (SECO) new IECC web-site. There are various Texas-specific reference documents, notices, announcements, code history, key dates, training registration and an online workshop which covers changes in the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code – the code SECO adopted by reference for commercial construction. For more information, contact SECO through links from the web-site above or call 512/463-8352.

TBAE—“Engineer Window” Opens September 1; Closes January 1, 2012
Another 82nd Session bill that became effective September 1 is HB 2284, which specifies things that are both unique and common to the practice of architecture and engineering. While the bill adds language to the Engineers Practice Act that clearly says architecture is not a subset of engineering, and that an architect must prepare the architectural plans and specifications for structures intended for human use or occupancy,” it provides a process for certain engineers to be grandfathered to continue providing those service instruments if they can demonstrate they’ve done so on at least three (3) qualified projects prior to 2011.

Following a four-month application period that runs from September 1 through the end of 2011, the agency has four months to determine each applicant’s eligibility to be included on a TBAE list, which will be publicly posted on its website or available upon request, of engineers who are exempt from the Architects Practice Act, and subject to regulation only by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE).

For more information, contact David Lancaster (txranger@texasarchitect.org or 512/615-7735) or Glenn Garry (glenn.garry@tbae.state.tx.us or 512/305-8536).

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