Review – AIA Conference 2019 – Highlights From A’19 in Las Vegas.

Every year the American Institute of Architects hosts a 3 day conference,  This year the AIA conference was held in Las Vegas.

I started attending the AIA conference last year.  That may come as a surprise because I have been an Architect for a long time, but cost and the fact that I managed to fulfilled my continuing education through webinars kept me from attending.

My perspective changed last year when a dear friend (who I don’t get to see much) invited me to join him at the conference.  This year he and I renewed our new tradition of meeting up at the AIA conference.

Together, we had a great time and took in a great deal of valuable content.  Today I want to share the best highlights from the conference and frame these in the context of procurement,

Quality Programs the Devil is in the Details

Jeanette Shaw Director of Quality and Sustainability at Powers Brown shared how her firm addresses Quality Control of drawings.

As a chair in the Construction Quality Executive Council Shaw spoke openly and candidly about feedback from Contractor members who complain about routinely have to deal with poor quality drawings.  Shaw outlined her firms’ approach to Quality Control challenging the audience to implement similar controls.

Shaw’s discussion revealed key characteristics that make up an effective Quality Control program,  Key characteristics I will be sure to check for in future solicitations.

Trends and Projections in Solar and Renewable Energy

Representatives from GAF shared how owners are benefiting from third parties offering long term low cost energy by erecting solar arrays on their buildings.

The system owner finances the cost of installing the array by selling the energy back to the building owner at rates lower than the utility rate.

According to GAF this model works even in de-regulated markets where energy brokers operate. This will be a model I will explore next time a client asks for energy procurement,

Zero Made Easy: Advanced Energy Design Guidance for Office Buildings

Paul Torcellini offered a high level overview of ASHRAE’s free Advanced Energy Design Guidelines and discussed how owners can achieve net zero energy goals.

The guide offers prescriptive strategies for achieving net zero energy usage.  you can download the free guide at

I will be adding energy goals to my scopes of work from now on.

Understanding the General Conditions of a Construction Contract

Mike Kogar Senior Manager and Counsel at the AIA and Arlen Solochek Associate Vice Chancellor for Capital Planning at Maricopa Community College reviewed updates to the AIA General Conditions.

In addition to discussing subtle changes to the AIA contracts Mike and Arlen shared the rationale behind the edits and offered candid feedback on how contractors View provisions of the Agreements.

For me the commentary was quite valuable as context for how both parties see each provision.

3D Printing Concrete Forms: The Future is Now

Steve Brock from Gate Precast and Arno Adkins from Cooke Fox provided a case study for how they used 3D printing technology to make forms for a complex precast facade.

Gate shares how forms which would have taken 40 manhours through conventional methods were able to be created in 16 hours using 3D printing technology.

This case study shows that 3D printing can be used right now in construction.  I will be challenging all of my vendors to bring this technology forward on all of my projects.


I succeeded in completing all of my continuing education credits at the conference and I had a great time with my friend. I also managed to meet a few great colleagues and learn a bunch of useful new insights.

I also want to tease that besides the enhancements and innovations I will be making in my procurement work, you might also begin to see some updates to my website and this blog.  That is all I want to say for now, but suffice it to say that I have come away inspired and renewed from this year’s AIA conference.

What about you? Did you attend A’19? What were your most inspiring moments? Tell me you stories.

Thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed this content, please feel free to browse my previous articles and please like, share, comment, and subscribe.  This helps promote my content and is greatly appreciated.



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