The AIA released its annual legislative agenda for Congress today, days before President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 20. AIA’s legislative priorities aim to increase construction activity, create jobs, preserve the nation’s historic structures, and ensure that resiliency is a key focus in planning communities.

"We have an ambitious legislative agenda, and we will work hard to aggressively move it forward," said AIA President Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, in a press release. "Working together, the more than 85,000 members of the AIA have proven to be a powerful catalyst for passing legislation on Capitol Hill that not only increases economic activity but also enhances the common good."

According to that press release, the AIA’s agenda includes the following propositions:

Advance policies that help communities prepare for and respond to the challenges they face.

  • Support legislation to spur states to adopt better building codes
  • Enact national Good Samaritan legislation
  • Promote resiliency planning in communities

Continued Economic Growth

The AIA supports laws and regulations that help design and construction firms create jobs.

  • Make sure that the federal marketplace is open to firms of all sizes
  • Advance policies that help small businesses grow and create jobs
  • Ensure the tax code treats all firms fairly
  • Help the profession become more globally competitive


The AIA supports policies that promote good design.

  • Support federal 2030 targets and pass consensus energy efficiency legislation
  • Restore the 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction
  • Protect and enhance the historic preservation tax credit
  • Create a national infrastructure bank and restore Build America Bonds
  • Enhance the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Promote design excellence across all federal agencies

The Future

The AIA supports policies that invest in the next generation of architects and the profession.

  • Pass the National Design Services Act, which lets architecture school graduates work off student debt with community service
  • Foster a regulatory environment that enables architecture firms to invest in research and workforce development
  • Support pro bono and community work in underserved areas

  The AIA had several legislative successes in 2014, including the passage of two bills that the organization supported: the Design Build Reform in the National Defense Authorization Act, which requires federal agencies to justify shortlisting more than five finalists on a specific project and mandates the use of the two-phase selection process, and the 179D tax deductions for energy-efficient commercial buildings. In 2014, the AIA also effectively helped block two bills to which it was opposed, including a proposed tax increase on some small architecture firms—which was thwarted for the fifth consecutive year—and a repeal of the law applying the 2030 challenge targets to federal buildings.

Homepage image used via a Creative Commons license with Flickr user Katie Harbath.