There's been so much attention on the negative regarding our state that it's hard to imagine anything positive happening. Despite the protracted battle of wills at the statehouse, good things have transpired for the architecture profession.
Most people think advocacy is limited to lobbying legislators. But civics class teaches us there are three co-equal branches of government.
One of the most important things this organization does is keep a watchful eye on the judicial branch. When a case involving one firm moves through the courts with broad policy implications that would set a new precedent for professional practice impacting every firm, we join with our engineering association colleagues and develop a joint amicus curiae petition, better known as a friend of the court brief.
With the invaluable help of our longtime counsel Kevin Sido at Hinshaw & Culberston, we filed amicus briefs on two cases with Supreme Court action in the last few months. The first pitted a design firm against a bank on a lien claim. The bank argued that designs do not constitute an improvement to the property unless they are actually built. If there is no physical improvement, the designer may never be paid for work they did in good faith, whether the development proceeds or not. The second case was a condo project where the condo association tried suing the project architect for latent construction defects when they couldn't sue the builder, who was by then out of business. This would have subjected the work of architects and engineers to an "implied warranty of habitability," essentially making licensees liable for construction work, in addition to professional services.
Preparing these briefings is neither easy nor inexpensive. However, imagine the expense every architect would bear if we were not able to stand together and petition the court as a united industry. What kind of business would survive with design services excluded from liens, or the massive professional liability insurance rates that would result from holding architects responsible for construction workmanship? This is how we use your dues dollars. This is what associations are for.
Read more about these two great and recent examples of important work happening away from the headlines of political infighting.
Mechanics' Lien Case
Implied Warranty of Habitability