February 24, 2017

Division 3 (Design)

Mark Mercante

Division 3, also known as the Design Division, focuses on the problems and needs, risks and rewards, and duties and liabilities of each of the parties involved in the design process, with particular emphasis on design delivery and implementation, construction project development, and project economics and financing in both the public and private sectors.

The Design Division holds a monthly telephone conference on the first Wednesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Our calls typically rotate between business calls, where we review ongoing Division 3 projects and hear from our Division member liaisons involved in other Forum activities, and Hot Topic calls.  Our Hot Topic calls are typically 45 minutes to an hour in length, and focus on topics of interest to our members and the design community at large, with particular emphasis on current case law, legislation or other developments impacting the design community.  Recent topics have included the effects of technological advances on permitting, case law on the duty to defend, and legislative and judicial erosion of the statute of repose. Our next call will address document retention and document destruction policies and practices for architects and engineers.  All are invited and encouraged to attend our monthly calls (Dial-in: 866-646-6488, Pass Code: 903-406-5734#).

Division 3 also meets in person at each of the Forum’s three national meetings.  Typically, those meetings are in the form of dinners following the Forum’s primary Thursday night reception, and either breakfast or lunch meetings with speakers on a topic related to both our Division’s focus and the larger meeting theme.  Dinners are typically a la carte, and fill up quickly.  By joining our Division 3 Listserv, the link to which can be found on our Division webpage, you will receive all updates and invitations associated with our national meeting events, as well as our monthly call agendas and hot topic invitations.  You can also find on our webpage links to our past Hot Topic call invitations and meeting agendas, as well as links to various resources related to a design-focused construction practice.

Like our Hot Topic calls, our in-person lunch and breakfast meeting topics typically relate in some fashion to our Division’s design focus.  Recent topics have included Designing for Coastal Resistance - Sea Level Change, Round Table Discussions with In-House Design Firm General Counsel and, most recently, Modular Design and Construction.  Breakfasts are well-attended and always generate lively discussions.

Another Division 3 activity, and a unique opportunity for fellowship with the design community we serve, is our outreach during the Forum’s Annual Meeting to local design professionals.  Every year, in conjunction with the Forum’s Spring Meeting, Division 3 partners with local design professional organizations to host a social hour and continuing education opportunity for engineers and architects.  These events have proven very successful in generating interest within the local design communities and provides our members with direct contacts with local practitioners.  For the upcoming Forum Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., Division 3 expects to join with the American Institute of Architects to present on the new AIA B101 Document, scheduled to release in Spring 2017.  It is an exciting event and is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, April 19.  More details to follow for those signed up to our Division 3 Listserv.

Division 3’s Steering Committee also meets annually for its Planning Retreat in the home town of its current Chair, typically during the month of September.  The Planning Retreat provides our Steering Committee members with a dedicated opportunity to discuss and plan events, programs and projects for the upcoming Forum-year.  Planning retreats are held over a two-day period, with the evening of the first day reserved for fellowship and team-building, and a business/planning meeting for the second day.  This past year, at our Planning Retreat in New Orleans, in addition to planning out this year’s events and programs, our Steering Committee competed in an Escape My Room challenge.

Finally, Division 3 has a long history of generating informative presentations and written content for Forum national meetings, regional programs, distance learning programs and Forum publications.  Multiple Division 3 members have served as national program organizers and chairs, and are frequently called upon to share their expertise in a myriad of formats.  Recently, Division 3 began publishing 50-state surveys on design-related subjects of interest to the legal community, including a recently well-received survey on Firm Licensure Requirements for Architects and Engineers.  Division 3 is currently working on a new 50-state survey addressing Sealing Requirements for Design Professionals and Responsible Charge.

For more information about our monthly calls or other Division 3 business, please check Division 3’s webpage or contact division chair Mark Mercante at mmercante@bakerdonelson.com.

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Mark Mercante

Division 3 Chair