Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Size Standards from SBA Reflect Concerns Expressed by Architects

From an article now up on aia.org….

Threshold Reduced from $19 to $7 million After Thousands Oppose Proposed Rule

For immediate release:

Washington, D.C. – February 10, 2011 – The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today it will abandon plans to increase by 400 percent the size standard for architects eligible for SBA set-asides.

The decision reflects the concerns expressed in the more than 1,200 comments received by the agency during the comment period on the original SBA proposal. 

The AIA filed comments in June strenuously opposing the SBA’s original proposal to raise the size standard to $19 million from $4.5 million in gross annual receipts for architects to qualify as a small business.

This regulation is crucial for firms which do federal work as $190 billion of the $700 billion in contracts goes to firms that qualify as small businesses.

The new size standard will take effect on March 12, 2012. 

“We appreciate the SBA listening to the small business community’s opposition to its original proposal, which would have hurt many of the AIA’s small business members,” said AIA President Jeff Potter, FAIA. “With the SBA’s announcement today, we now have a size standard that better reflects the reality of the profession.”

The SBA received more than 1,200 comments on its original proposal. Over 90 percent of those comments rejected the $19 million cap for architects originally proposed by the agency.

“I’m so proud of our members for standing up and letting our collective voices be known on an issue of major importance to our profession,” added Potter. “And while the decision doesn’t solve the entire size standard issue, we look forward to working with the SBA and Capitol Hill in continuing to make our profession’s views known on other small business concerns.” 

The SBA’s original proposal would have been devastating to many small firms and sole practitioners because it would have lumped architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture and mapping into the same $19 million bucket. The SBA’s proposal would have let large architectural firms with a variety of disciplines qualify for small business benefits, at a time when such aggregated firms do not represent the current demographic for architecture firms, 80 percent of which have 10 or fewer employees.

Contact: John Schneidawind



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