By Nikolaus Remus, AIA, Advocacy Engagement Director at AIA Colorado 

We are no officially one-third of the way through the 2020 legislative session. AIA Colorado has taken formal positions on or is closely monitoring the following bills:

SB20-023: Working Group on School Safety

AIA Colorado position: Support with amendments

The bill creates the Colorado interagency working group on school safety. The working group consists of 10 voting members from various executive branch agencies, school districts and law enforcement agencies. The mission of the working group is to enhance school safety through the cost-effective use of public resources.

In line AIA National’s commitment to improving school safety, AIA Colorado successfully lobbied to amend this bill to include our state architect or their designee.

Status:

February 5: Passed unanimously in committee with AIA Colorado amendment to add state architect to working group. The bill will be heard next in the senate Appropriations committee, which has not been scheduled yet.

A special thanks to AIA members Paul Hutton, FAIA of Cuningham Group and Doug Abernathy, AIA of RTA Architects for testifying in support of our amendment in committee.

Next Steps:

No major hurdles to passage have been identified ad this time. However, implementation of SB20-023 has a modest annual cost to the state (~$85,000) and must be approved in appropriations prior to being voted on by the senate.

SB20-093: Consumer and Employee Dispute Resolution Fairness

AIA Colorado position: Oppose as introduced

This bill makes numerous changes to both consumer and employee arbitration processes aiming to increase consumer/employee protections. These changes include new standards to challenge arbitrators for evident partiality, new arbitrator transparency requirements and limits to ways mandatory arbitration can be used in standard form contracts.

AIA Colorado has no position on the general consumer/employee requirements, but we believe the standard form contract section will affect common condominium declarations produced by the developers of these projects. The broadly written language in the bill is not entirely appropriate for construction defect-related disputes, which have few similarities to the consumer/employee arbitration abuses that are the basis of the bill.

Status:

January 29: Passed 3-2 on party lines in committee. It’s scheduled to be heard on the senate floor the week of February 17.

Nikolaus Remus, AIA, testified in committee on behalf of AIA Colorado. Numerous industry partner organizations also testified that this bill could have a negative effect on condominium construction.

Next Steps:

Government Affairs Committee members are working with their developer clients to identify specific ways that this bill might be further amended to limit its impact on condominium construction projects in Colorado.

SB20-138: Consumer Protection Construction Defect Time Period

AIA Colorado position: Oppose

SB20-138: Consumer Protection Construction Defect Time Period seeks three changes:

  • Increases the statutory limitation period for actions based on construction defects from 6 years to 10 years;
  • Allows tolling of the limitation period on any statutory or equitable basis; and
  • Requires tolling of the limitation period until the claimant discovers not only some physical manifestation of a construction defect but also its cause.

These changes will result in a litigation process in Colorado that is no longer fair to design and construction professionals at a time when the state is still recovering from a housing shortage and construction affordability challenges in general.

Status:

February 12: Passed 3-2 on party lines in committee. It’s scheduled to be heard on the senate floor the week of February 17.

Nikolaus Remus, AIA, testified in committee on behalf of AIA Colorado. Numerous industry partner organizations also testified that this bill could have a negative effect on condominium construction.

Next Steps:

AIA Colorado and industry partners are lobbying senators, asking them to vote against the bill when it’s heard on the senate floor.

HB20-1165: Interior Design Practice

AIA Colorado position: Neutral if proposed amendments are adopted

There is an existing exemption within the Colorado architects’ practice act for interior designers to prepare and submit interior design documents that don’t require an architect’s stamp for building permit applications. Only interior designers that meet certain prerequisites may utilize the exemption. This bill cleans up outdated requirements that made it difficult for interior designers to demonstrate they meet the prerequisites.

AIA Colorado had concerns with the bill as introduced, which also included language that expanded the scope of the exemption instead of simply offering clarifications. We’ve worked with the bill sponsor and interior designers on an amendment that replaces the problematic language.

Status:

February 18: This bill passed out of committee, amended per AIA Colorado’s recommendations.

Next Steps:

This bill will be heard on the full house floor but has not yet been scheduled.