Update from the AIA National Small Firm Exchange

October 13, 2019

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Small Firm Exchange (SFx)

An AIA National Member Group



Regional Representative Report / 2019 Q3                                                                                                      Facebook

Bruce D. Turner, AIA – AIA New Jersey SFx Regional Representative                                                                 Instagram

bdtaia@aol.com or (856) 405-0351                                                                                                                                  Twitter


AIA Small Firm Exchange Website


SFx Mission & Objectives                                                                                           

Advancing the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms (often 1-12 staff).

  • Advocate for small firms within the AIA and in outside organizations and agencies
  • Promote leadership in small firm professional development and practice
  • Facilitate and support the local component round tables and small firm networks


Influence – Advocacy & Leadership Development

Firms are still struggling to afford healthcare.   SFx was working with AIA Trust, following the models of AIA Kentucky and AIA Portland, but national legal issues have stopped this.  Instead we are creating a packet for chapters to do this. 

Vendor Discussions – MasterSpec, AIA Contract Documents, Autodesk / Revit – requesting “small firm” pricing.

SFx is advocating for small firm recognition at local and regional design awards. Use the AIA Small Project awards categories to advocate for visibility at your local chapters.

 SFx Lien Rights Awareness Initiative: with the help of state components and their local lobbyists, SFx offers to create a customized lien rights awareness presentation for webinar or conference for the benefit of architects within your state. 

AIA Leadership Academy – 3-year national program: in-person meetings, webinars, and coaching calls to support individual leaders on firm, community and/or professional leadership growth.  Nominations now open until 22 September 2019.  First weekend tentatively scheduled for late January 2020. 

We want to hear from you!  If you have small firm advocacy issues, reach out to your SFx regional rep. listed above!


The AIA National Conference on Architecture – Small-Firm Relevance

SFx had a number of workshops, sessions, and gatherings at A’19: hosted two workshops on Business & Marketing, Business School Series, Thursday podcast interviews, a Small Firm Needs Forum, a joint Forum with the Small Project Design KC, and a session on Leadership Development.  We also co-hosted a post-workshop reception, a joint KC evening reception, and a Small Firm Meetup at the Business Lounge. 

A’20 will have just as much to offer small firm leaders! Specifically, SFx has proposed small-firm relevant sessions and workshops for A’20, including:  “Small Firm Needs Forum,” “Modes of Practice for Small Firms” with the AIANY New Practices Committee, “Small Firm Management” with AIA Trust, “Small Firms Successfully Implementing the COTE Top Ten Toolkit” with the national COTE and TAP KCs, and “Focused Leadership for the Proactive Professional” with the national AIA Leadership Academy.


Small-Firm Practice Resources

SFx is seeking feedback on its Business Plan Beta Template for Small Architectural Firms.  SFx is working with the Resiliency member group on tools for Business Continuity Plans.  The results of the SFx / SPP / CRAN survey can be found here: Business Models for Small Architectural Firms

SFx is working with the AIA Knowledge Communities to create Curated Collections for Small Firms.  These conversations progressed at the 2019 Leaders Assembly in August.  SFx is developing an AIAU Small Firm Series.

SFx is working with the AIA Center for Practice and the Practice Management Knowledge Community to look at small firm best practices, and issues such as electronic seals, and software/hardware technologies.

Here is a resource of Videos to educate your clients – link via your own website. 


Small-Firm Outreach

Stories about small firm architects.  At A’18 and A’19, SFx conducted a number of interviews of small firm architects from around the country and posted them on Spotify, and YouTube –Hear their stories and sign-up to tell us yours. Instagram – Our Instagram @AIA_SFX account highlights the work of small firms; send us your work.

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