For immediate release:
Washington, D.C. – June 3, 2011 – The American Institute of Architects’ Alabama Council today commended the Alabama legislature for extending to 90 days the liability protection that the state’s Good Samaritan Law may afford architects, engineers and other licensed building professionals who donate their services after disasters like the tornados that leveled parts of the state April 27.
The bill, which Alabama’s legislature passed late on Thursday, now goes to Governor Robert Bentley for signature.
The legislation will permit the 206-member AIA specially-trained team of architects, engineers, building inspectors and fire marshals from across the country to continue to perform safety assessments on homes and structures damaged by the devastating April storms. These assessments, which are a necessary step before any real reconstruction can commence, help determine whether buildings are safe for permanent occupancy, temporary or partial occupancy or if structures need a detailed damage assessment and additional work.
“We are gratified that the legislature saw fit to extend this protection for 90 days,” said Mike Chapman, President of AIA’s Alabama Council. “With a disaster of this magnitude, our volunteers had barely begun to make an impact before they would have been required to pull up stakes and go home.”
Before the state legislature acted, the Alabama Good Samaritan Law would have expired just thirty days after the declaration of an emergency.
The assistance effort is part of the continuous commitment by the AIA and its local chapters to provide disaster assistance wherever possible to communities hit by any number and kind of disasters, from earthquakes to hurricanes to floods. The team in Alabama was trained using both California's Safety Assessment Program (SAP) as well as the ATC 45, (Applied Technology Council's Field Manual: Safety of Buildings after wind Storms and Floods).
For building officials that need assistance in safety assessments, please contact the AIA Alabama Council at (334)264-3037.
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.