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AIA Hawaii State Council Legislative Update
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This is a report from Dan Chun, FAIA, 2014 President of AIA Hawaii State Council. The objectives of the AIA Hawaii State Council are to represent AIA members on matters of state-wide interest, and to provide assistance to state, governmental and regulatory bodies regarding issues affecting the architecture profession and Hawaii’s built environment. The AIA Hawaii State Council is incorporated as a 501©6 tax-exempt organization in the State of Hawaii.


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2014 AIA Hawaii Legislative Update: End of the Session

Posted By Dan Chun, FAIA, AIA Hawaii State Council President, Friday, May 9, 2014

Hawaii State Legislative Update

AIA Hawaii State Council is responsible for monitoring state legislative bills important to architects. May I, 2014 was the final day of session and this is an update on two bills that AIA had strong interest in.

To read the current text of bills discussed below, go to the state legislative website Follow the prompts and you can see the process, the text of each amended bill version and the interesting public testimony both supporting and opposing. AIA testimony is shown for bills in the respective public testimony file.

Consumer Protection and Licensing

AIA strongly supported Senate Bill 2581 CD I Relating to the State Building Code and it passed the legislature with important changes to the current state building code statute. Code updates will be “staggered” with no more than six years in between new code adoptions. Other jurisdictions have increasingly staggered adoptions because of complaints that the design and construction industry cannot keep up with some radically changed code sections. Voting membership is revised, adding BIA/GCA and Subcontractor’s Association and State Energy Office while removing the Department of Health. “Housekeeping” language is added to hopefully streamline future code adoptions by identifying “the Hawaii state building code(s)” as administrative rules to be amended instead of starting over each time using nationally published text. (Architects will recall the review of Honolulu 2006 IBC code amendments that substantially were the same as already amended for 2006 IBC that became 2006 state building code) Salaries and other costs had $136K appropriated. Original funding request was substantially reduced by bill supporters in response to forecast of reduced state tax collection. Senator Willie Espero was instrumental in moving this bill to passage. Bill supporters such as the State Fire Council, Kauai County and BIA Hawaii were very helpful.

Public Procurement

AIA and our allied Construction Industry Council of Hawaii CICH supported Senate Bill 2463 that banned the “defense of government agencies” requirement in all public contracts for design professionals and construction contractors. The bill and its House companion did not pass this session over disagreement with the Attorney General. Our thanks to Senator Clayton Hee for moving the bills as far as possible this session. Also our thanks to those architects who sent testimony supporting AIA position. Your efforts are helpful in framing the problem to the legislature.

AIA will proceed with a 2015 bill that likely bans the defense duty for architects-engineers and “sunsets” the defense duty for construction contractors one year after Notice of Project Completion. In between sessions, we are supposed to gather hard data related to the types of claims and timing of claims to support the bill’s concept. New State Procurement Office Administrator Sarah Allen needs more data in all procurement bills. In addition we need to convince the Attorney General by turning anecdotal evidence into numerical evidence. AIA will seek the help of our CGL and professional liability insurance carriers to gather claims data. If XL and other carriers cannot cover the duty to defend, they can at least help architects gather claims data.  

A future update will cover some other bills related to architecture.

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2014 Hawaii Legislative Session: AIA Update

Posted By Amy Blagriff, Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014

AIA Hawaii State Legislative Issues

Following are bills introduced at the 2014 state legislature and of special significance to the "perpetual agenda” of the AIA.  To see the exact text and other information, go to   There you can read the AIA testimony and that of other special interests, both supporting and opposing viewpoints.

Your comments (Scroll to bottom of post) are welcome.  You may also reach Dan Chun, FAIA by email.


Senate Bill 2463 /House Bill 20477 Relating to Procurement:  

Prohibits governmental procurement contracts of any amount that are exclusively for the services of contractors, engineers, architects, land surveyors, or landscape architects, from requiring the person to defend the governmental body against liability not arising from the contractorʼs own negligence or fault.Provides that the contractor may still be required to indemnify and hold harmless the governmental body from claims arising out of, or resulting from the negligent, reckless, or wrongful acts, errors, or omissions of the contractor.

Defense of a governmental body cannot be covered by professional liability insurance. Therefore ACECH and AIA had passed a relief from the contract requirement for public agency contracts worth up to $1 million.  In 2013 state legislative session, engineers and architects tried to remove the dollar cap, making the relief for all design contracts. Objection was raised by insurance companies covering construction contractors and the bills were deferred. Design professionals met over the past year with construction contractors of the CICH – Construction Industry Council of Hawaii to arrive at a bill that the whole construction industry can support.  

This session the whole construction industry is united in support and SB 2463 was sponsored by Senators Baker, Ihara, and Wakai.  Objection was raised by the state attorney general saying the state should be treated like a private customer. AIA testified that the state is not like a private customer because public highways and buildings are used by so many people over so many years. The risk is higher. In addition, some private customers do not require that an architect defend them against all claims before fault is determined.

The State Procurement Office objected to SB 2463, but suggested the dollar limit for design contracts be increased to $5 million. Senate Committees chaired by Senator Baker and Senator Dela Cruz passed SB 2463 with amendments, the text of which is not yet on the legislative website.

House Bill 2047 was heard by House Consumer Protection & Commerce Committee chaired by Representative Angus McKelvey (D-Kihei) and passed with defective dating. "Defective dating” means the bill text needs more work when it reaches the House Judiciary Committee. Representative McKelvey has supported several other AIA bills in the past.


Senate Bill 2581/House Bill 1633 Relating to the State Building Code

Modifies the composition, quorum, and duties of the Hawaii State Building Code council and revises the state building code, including clarifying terminology, the code adoption process, and the staggering of code adoptions. Ensures laws governing building contractors o not conflict with chapter 107 HRS. Appropriates funds to department of accounting and general services for council's operating costs, including staff salaries.

AIA SUPPORTED the bills drafted by the State Building Code Council that include possible staggering of code updates for a maximum of six years with unanimous approval of the four county building chiefs. Funding for staff is also included to address Governor Abercrombie's veto of the 2013 bill passed by the legislature. The governor says there is no connection between hurricane relief and updating building codes.

SB 2581 was passed by Senator Willie Espero's committee with minor punctuation changes. It next goes to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for funding approval. HB 1633 is being heard by Representative McKelvey as part of the State Fire Council package of desired legislation.


The county mayors have asked the state legislature to allow the counties to adjust the state Gross Excise Tax GET in their jurisdictions beyond the I/2% allowed for county-located transit systems. At this time, the state legislature seems opposed to the idea. Thus the AIAHSC board has not reviewed specific bills or voted a position on the proposal. For the record AIA Hawaii State Council has supported Honolulu's imposition of I/2% for the current transit system under construction.


Senate Bill 2620 Relating to the Works of Art Special Fund

Authorizes additional purposes for the expenditure of funds from the works of art special fund. Limits the use of the special fund to purchase new works of art.

AIA OPPOSED this bill based on our historic support for the original vision first lobbied by Alfred Pries FAIA, founding Executive Director of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Works of Art Special Fund is built from I% of the construction appropriation for state-funded buildings. Many would-be reformers of the Fund do not realize that the Fund is skimmed from the buildingʼs construction budget under the idea that we architects agree to dedicate a small percentage for works of art. The state department of budget and finance and the Airports Division of DOT opposed the bill because of negative impacts on bond holders if the Fund is used for performing arts instead of physically permanent objects.


AIA Hawaii State Council is not taking any position on bills that would abolish or revise HCDA, the state agency charged with overseeing Kakaako development. Kakaako is an issue that is to be considered by AIA Honolulu Chapter public policies and position statements.

Your comments below are welcome.  You may also reach Dan Chun, FAIA by email.

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