AIA New Jersey Testifies in Opposition of Light-Frame Residential Construction Bill

November 16, 2021

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AIA New Jersey Testifies in Opposition of Light-Frame Residential Construction Bill



The American Institute of Architects New Jersey Chapter Public Awareness co-chair and trustee of the Architects League of Northern New Jersey, William J. Martin, R.A., AIA, P.P., LEED AP-H, testified on Monday, November 15, 2021, at the NJ Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee. The committee met in Committee Room 4, first floor at the NJ State House Annex. Senator Troy Singleton presided over the committee.



The bill is number S2051 and is titled: AN ACT concerning certain light-frame residential construction, 1 supplementing P.L.1975, c.217 (C.52:27D-119 et seq.), and 2 amending P.L.1991, c.188.


Bill testified on behalf of AIA New Jersey in opposition to the bill that sought to significantly restrict the use of light wood framing to construct any new residential building that contained more than 2 dwellings or 2 sleeping units.  Buildings with 3 residential units or more would be significantly affected.


In short, under this bill, these buildings would only be permitted to be constructed from non-combustible materials for their structural systems.


AIA New Jersey testimony highlighted the significant additional cost associated with these restrictions and the negative effect on the affordable and middle-level housing that New Jersey residents need.  Also highlighted was the important role that renewable and sustainable resources, such as wood framing, play in New Jersey’s efforts to address climate change.


“Protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public that call these buildings “home” is of paramount importance to you, our elected leaders, and the architectural profession in the State of New Jersey.  As Architects, we are all about public safety. Protecting the lives of residents as well as fire service members is a primary concern. In addition to this, the American Institute of Architects New Jersey membership worries about the rising cost of construction and its effects on affordable housing. We are concerned about being able to appropriately choose renewable and sustainable building materials for the buildings that we design for New Jersey residents, and the environmental effects resulting from these materials being further restricted.”

New Jersey Architects Political Action Committee Chair David Del Vecchio recognizes the tremendous value of AIA New Jersey testifying. He remarks, “What we do at the state level has a huge impact on the lives and businesses of architects practicing in New Jersey. There are quite a few issues that keep coming back again and again. This is just one of the newer ones. Professional Services Taxes is another that comes to mind. On our side, we pushed Good Samaritan legislation for years before we got a bill passed and signed into law.  AIANJ and NJAPAC are ever vigilant.” 

According to AIA New Jersey Executive Director Joseph Simonetta, CAE. Hon AIA, “The importance of public testimony cannot be understated.  While many people testified, each had a propriety financial interest in their testimony.  AIA New Jersey, though the appearance of Bill Martin, AIA, explained the role of the architect, the value of current resources that allow for affordable and sustainable design and the code adoption process.  All of these would be adversely affected by the adoption of this bill.  AIA New Jersey’s presence and the testimony of Bill Martin is a typical membership service that often goes unnoticed.”

You can listen to the testimony on the State Legislature’s website.  AIA New Jersey testimony begins at time mark 1:16:40 and concludes at time mark 1:26:52






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