The Voice for Texas Architecture

Advocacy Update: Annual License Renewal Fees Reduced

Thanks to the collaborative effort of numerous professional organizations, including the Texas Society of Architects (TxA), the annual license renewal fees will decrease by $200 starting September 1.  Let me repeat, beginning with those with birthdays in September, the cost to renew your license will be $200 less this year — and next year — and the year after, etc.

Working with physicians, realtors, lawyers, and every other professional group whose members had been required to pay $200 per year directly to the state’s General Revenue Fund ($150) and Education Fund ($50). We eliminated this direct professional tax, which when combined with the 25% flat reduction in the franchise tax rate, provides a genuine financial relief to architecture firms and individual architects.

We know you’ve been hearing this good news from other sources, but we just wanted to claim our share of the credit for helping save our members money! TxA leadership, staff, and lobbyists worked hard on this issue and are proud of this truly significant success!

Saving you every penny we can –photo Flickr; pictures of money

Advocacy Day 2015: Recap


Every other year, architects from across Texas convene at the State Capitol to advocate for the profession. On February 10, our Third Biannual Advocates for Architecture Day began at the Blanton Museum of Art for training and concluded at the Capitol with architects visiting state House and Senate offices.

Over 130 architecture professionals, associates, and students visited legislators at the State Capitol to explain issues important to the profession. Attendees gave legislators materials explaining what architects do and the impact and elements of design beyond the building and its plans. Each office received a limited-edition print of the Capitol Dome Lantern and Goddess of Liberty by Brian Griggs, AIA, of Amarillo.

Advocates descend on the State Capitol building to meet with their legislators –photo by Nicole Mlakar

Overall, Advocates for Architecture Day 2015 participants made personal connections with all 178 Texas House and Senate offices. With 29 new House and 8 new Senate members, this opportunity to connect with the 2015 class was an invaluable experience in building relationships and highlighting the importance of design.

Look out for a reflection on Advocates for Architecture Day 2015 later this month!

Thank you to the following ADVOCATES for making the event such a success:

Elkin Aguilar, AIA
Andy Albin
Justin Allen, AIA
Peri Arthur, Assoc. AIA
Alejandra Avilés
Zaida Basora, FAIA
Paul Bielamowicz, AIA
Rusty Bienvenue
Jan Blackmon, FAIA
James Booher, AIA
Bob Borson, AIA
Christopher Box
Jim Brady, AIA
Derwin Broughton, AIA
Jared Brown
David Bucek, FAIA
Robert Bullis, AIA
David Calkins, FAIA
Joe Cannon, AIA
Jacqueline Carlson, AIA
Shannon Carpenter Bearden, AIA
Eduardo Castaneda, Assoc. AIA
Fred D. Cawyer, AIA
Adam Clark
Meredith Contello, AIA
Victoria Cooper
Ada Corral, AIA
Carlos Cruz, AIA
Peter Darby, AIA
Brice Davis, AIA
Chad Davis, AIA
Hector De Santiago, AIA
Tony DiNicola, AIA
Debra Dockery, AIA
Jacqui Dodson, AIA
Jake Donaldson, AIA
Igor Draskovic, Assoc. AIA
Kathleen English, AIA
James Evans, AIA
Rachel Fisher
Daphne Floran-Melendez, AIA
Richard Flores, AIA
Kye Franke, AIA
Sam Garcia, AIA
Sean Garman, AIA
Adam Gates, Assoc AIA
Ryan Gathmann, AIA
David German, AIA
Randy Gideon, FAIA
Ana-Sofia Gonzalez
Brian Griggs, AIA
James Haliburton, AIA
Robert Hanley, AIA
Richard Harris, AIA
Vincent Hauser, AIA
Andrew Hawkins, AIA
Wendy Heger, AIA
Darren Heine, AIA
Henry Hermis, AIA
Manuel Hinojosa, FAIA
Keith Holley, AIA
Francisco Ibarra
Silvia Izaguirre
Charles John, AIA
Kit Johnson
Mary Le Johnson, AIA
Walter Kilroy, AIA
Jane Kittner, AIA
Roy Locke, AIA
Andy MacPhillimy, AIA
Alyse Makarewicz, AIA
Michael Malone, AIA
Nicole Marrone, AIA
Ann McGlone, AIA
Mike McGlone, AIA
Mitch Milby
Richard Miller, FAIA
Christopher Minnich, AIA
Angela Mitchell, AIA
John Mize, AIA
John Moman, AIA
Deborah Montez
Jeromy Murphy, AIA
Sid Naeimi
Chris Noack, AIA
Michael Novendstern, AIA
John Nyfeler, FAIA
Vanessa Ortega, Assoc. AIA
Justin Oscilowski, AIA
Jaime Palomo, AIA
Steve Patmon, AIA
Fred Patterson, AIA
Connor Peirce, Assoc. AIA
David Potter, AIA
Elizabeth Price, AIA
Jason Puchot, AIA
Philip Ramirez, AIA
Eric Rauser, AIA
Lauren Raven, AIA
Adam Reed, AIA
Craig Reynolds, FAIA
Connie G. Rivera, AIA
Shawnda Rixey, Assoc. AIA
David Robinson, AIA
David Rodriguez, Assoc. AIA
Cesar Roque, Assoc. AIA
Chris Royster, AIA
James Sandoz, AIA
Mark Schantz, AIA
Sheldon Schroeder, AIA
Perry Seeberger, AIA
Douglas Seidel
Donald Sopranzi, AIA
Philip Southwick, AIA
Torrey Stanley Carleton
Tommy Stewart, AIA
Jim Susman, AIA
AJ Sustaita, AIA
Nydia Tapia Gonzales
Kirk Teske, AIA
Herman Thun, AIA
Betty Trent, AIA
David Trevino, AIA
Saul Valentin
Kevin Wallace, AIA
Derek Webb, AIA
Mike Wells
Jay West, AIA
Jim Williams, AIA
Bill Wilson, FAIA
Joshua Wilson, AIA
J Mark Wolf, AIA
Mat Wolff
Al York, AIA

Texas Architects' IgCC Roadmap

According to the EPA, buildings account for 36 percent of total energy use and 65 percent of electricity consumption. Much of Texas is in drought conditions, with many portions of our state in severe distress. As our society, government, and culture wrestle with the economics, politics, and ethics of these challenges, it becomes increasingly imperative that our buildings be designed and constructed to use fewer resources.
As the responsible representative of architects in Texas, the Texas Society of Architects has long been a supporter of sustainable standards for buildings, including ongoing programs of advocacy and education for our own members, the public, and public officials. To date, those standards, such as LEED and Green Globes, have been primarily voluntary. While these standards have been instrumental in raising the performance of buildings and in developing an educated and capable construction industry, they have not seen wide use in many building types.
The International Green Construction Code (IgCC), developed with a wide range of input from professional, industry, and governmental organizations, promises to be a game-changer, establishing a code that applies to a much wider range of building types.
Over the past four years, Texas Architects has monitored and participated in the development of the IgCC and provided significant input into its refinement and development. As a result of this rigorous development process, we now believe that the IgCC has become an effective and enforceable standard that will — for communities that adopt it — lead to buildings that are healthier for their occupants, use less energy and water, and have lower impact on our increasingly overstressed infrastructure.
In particular, we admire the inherent opportunity the IgCC offers to municipalities to “dial their own shade of green,” fine-tuning the code to best address their specific needs and priorities.
The Texas Society of Architects has developed this Road Map to guide those officials contemplating or actually adopting the IgCC. We applaud such efforts and hope that all such leaders will consider Texas Architects as their trusted advisor in this process.

A Road Map for the Adoption of the 2012 International Green Construction Code
© 2013 Texas Society of Architects
Read report now.

Advocacy Update: Texas 83rd Legislative Session Wrap-up

Texas Architects Senior Advocate David Lancaster, Hon. AIA, recaps the Society’s advocacy work during the 83rd Regular Legislative Session, which concluded on May 27. 

Inside the Texas State Capitol dome. -photo by Elizabeth Hackler

After the tremendous success the Society achieved during the 2011 legislative session, its Government Affairs Steering Committee approved a lower-key approach for the 83rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, one focused on ‘Sunset and Sustainability.’

Texas Architects saw their Practice Act successfully extended for another 12 years with the passage of HB 1717 (Rep. “Four” Price / Sen. Robert Nichols), the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) sunset bill, and contributed significantly in shaping the final language of SB 211 (Sen. Nichols, Rep. Harold Dutton), the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC) sunset bill.

The primary difference affecting architects brought about by HB 1717 is that all licensees must go through a security clearance requiring that a (one-time) fingerprint record be submitted by architects as they either renew their license or become initially licensed. This is something now being required of all professions as they go through the sunset process; it is not a case of architects being singled out for additional scrutiny.

SB 211 gave the Society an opportunity to effect changes to the model Public Private Partnership (P3) law enacted in 2011, and to get into the TFC’s enabling legislation language, calling for more consideration of design standards for future Capitol Complex projects.

The primary sustainability bills impacting architects more directly were SB 198, (Sen. Kirk Watson / Rep. Dawna Dukes), to help ensure the rights of Home Owners Association (HOA) members to xeriscape or otherwise have a drought-resistant, water-conserving lawn without undue restraint, and SB 385 (Sen. John Carona / Rep. Jim Keffer), which has to do with cities and counties being able to help finance improvements for energy and natural resource conservation projects through the PACE (property assessed clean energy) program established in 2009. This session’s bill provides a constitutional mechanism for political subdivisions to authorize assessments funding such improvements.

One practice-related bill was considered a priority measure: HB 586 (Rep. Paul Workman / Sen. Robert Deuell), which relates to waiving the State’s right to claim sovereign immunity for architectural, engineering, or construction breach-of-contract suits. While the collaborative efforts of the design and construction industry didn’t yield parity with similar laws affecting all other political subdivisions, the bill does establish that no state entity can summarily claim immunity from suit simply on the basis of who they are.

There were a number of bills the Society worked on that didn’t pass; some we were mostly neutral on, like SB 617, and some, like HB 3202, we opposed. The former would have licensed Energy Evaluators (or “Auditors”); the latter would have changed the Construction Manager-at-Risk selection process.  We added language exempting architects from SB 617 so that an additional license through TDLR wouldn’t be required. This eliminated our “regulatory confusion” concern, so we took the bill off our “Priority Watch” list.

Future advocacy updates will go into greater detail about these bills and others that TxA tracked this session. If you have specific questions you would like addressed in the meantime, email or call me at 512-478-7386.