Appointment of Citizen Architects to California Governmental Entities

Advocacy Update

The American Institute of Architects, California’s Government Relations program regularly advocates for the profession with the Legislature and State Agencies. However, one potentially lesser-known function we serve is to identify citizen architects who are willing to step up and serve the profession in various capacities – from state agency advisory boards to Governor’s appointments.

Influencing Executive Appointments is all a part of AIA CA’s greater efforts to ensure that architects have a voice within the over 20 state entities that impact the profession of architecture in California. Architects must be at the table as decisions are being made at all levels of government. Many boards and commissions have positions set aside specifically for an architect’s perspective and some do not, nevertheless, if decisions are being made that impact the built environment, the perspective of our members is essential.

Here are some examples of recent AIA CA supported architects who have been appointed in California:

Division of the State Architect (DSA):
The State Architect (DSA) provides design and construction oversight for K–12 schools, community colleges, and various other state-owned and state-leased facilities to ensure that they comply with all structural, accessibility, and fire and life safety codes. To promote consistent knowledge and application of the California Building Codes, as well as information for successful plan review and construction of projects under DSA’s jurisdiction, DSA offers classes through its DSA Academy.

DSA also develops accessibility, structural safety, and historical building codes and standards utilized in various public and private buildings throughout the state of California. Various groups were established to work with DSA on these projects. DSA is also charged with administering certification programs for project inspectors, materials testing laboratories, and certified access specialists.”* (*DSA.CA.GOV)

California State Architect Ida Clair, AIA, has worked as an architect in architectural firms, as a Principal Architect at the Division of the State Architect, as Acting State Architect, and was appointed to this role in 2022. Ida has twenty-six years’ experience in private architectural practice where she specialized in affordable and sustainable multifamily residential facilities and provided accessibility compliance surveys and third-party plan reviews. As a Certified Access Specialist, Ida was instrumental in the creation of the Certified Access Specialist Institute in 2010. Additionally, Ida is well connected to the constituencies of the Division of the State Architect, which has allowed her to communicate effectively with those whose input is needed for the Division to operate in an open and manner.

For these reasons, we were proud to actively support the reappointment of Ida Clair, AIA to this prominent position last year. The State Architect position is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the California State Senate.

California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) Code Advisory Committees:
According to the CBSC website, “The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) assigns initial code change proposals to one or more of the six Code Advisory Committees (CACs) specifically knowledgeable in the proposed building standards: [Accessibility; Building, Fire and Other; Green Building; Health Facilities; Plumping, Electrical, Mechanical and Energy; and Structural Design/Lateral Forces.] CACs provide special technical review of proposed building standards and provide recommendations to CBSC and state proposing agencies.”

Each of these advisory committees has a slot set aside for an architect member. This last year, AIA CA was happy to support the reappointment of Gary McGavin, AIA, Emeritus to the Structural Design/Lateral Forces Committee and Sharon Refvem, FAIA, to the Green Building Committee for the 2024-2026 cycle. Additionally, we were pleased to have Janis Kent, FAIA, step up to fill a vacant spot on the Accessibility Committee. She has been involved in the specialized field of Accessibility since the mid-1980s, during which time she has established herself as a leading expert in this field.

Hospital Building Safety Board (HBSB):
According to the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) website, “The Hospital Building Safety Board (HBSB) was established by Senate Bill 519 (Alquist) in the original Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act of 1973. The purpose of the Board is to: Advise the Director of the Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) on the administration of the Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act, and act as a board of appeals with regard to seismic safety and fire and life safety issues relating to hospital facilities.”

This Board has two positions set aside for architect members. When one of those two positions opened up this last year, AIA CA had the opportunity to nominate Teresa Endres, AIA, to fill that vacancy. She has extensive experience and knowledge gained from over 29 years of professional experience as a medical planner, healthcare architect, and owner’s representative dedicated to specialized and ultra-specialized healthcare projects.

We look forward to continuing to work with all of these well-qualified members in their roles within their respective entities and encourage all architects to consider these opportunities to influence the political process. Interested? Click to contact Scott Terrell, AIA California Director of Government Relations.

Skip to content