3.13 AIAVT News

2012 Building & Access Codes: What Are the Key Changes?

Last year, our state adopted the latest Vermont Fire and Building Safety Code (effective November 5) and Vermont Access Rules (effective April 1)  More...

Gossens Bachman Project Cited for EPA Smart Growth Award

Brattleboro’s Co-op Plaza redevelopment, a project led by Montpelier-based Gossens Bachman Architects, was recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More...

EPN: What Is it? What’s it all About?

Are you an architect licensed less than 10 years? How about a not yet licensed architectural designer or a graduate student enrolled in an accredited program?  More...

AIAVT Social Held at Bread Loaf Corporation

AIAVT, Bread Loaf Corporation, and Curtis Lumber teamed up to host a studio social and educational opportunity on Thursday, February 21   More...

New ENERGY STAR Homes HVAC Requirements are in Effect

Are you designing a home under the new ENERGY STAR Homes Version 3 (V.3) Program specifications? There are several significant updates in the new criteria aimed at increasing the energy efficiency, comfort, and durability of ENERGY STAR homes   More...

2012 Building & Access Codes: What Are the Key Changes?

By Bob Duncan, AIA

Last year, our state adopted the latest Vermont Fire and Building Safety Code (effective November 5) and Vermont Access Rules (effective April 1).  As in 2006, the 2012 Vermont Fire and Building Safety Code incorporates modified aspects of the 2012 International Building Code® (IBC), the 2012 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 101: Life Safety Code®, and the 2012 NFPA 1: Fire Code.  The 2012 Vermont Access Rules incorporate the American Disabilities Act (ADA), the 2010 ADA Standards, and additional rules particular to Vermont.

With respect to the latest codes, Vermont Division of Fire Safety (DFS) Deputy Director Bob Patterson has told AIA Vermont’s Public Policy Committee, “I’m not only committed to improving enforcement. I’m also interested in improving communication between our department and the design and construction professionals who work with codes most frequently.”   To meet these objectives, DFS will be holding several statewide “Code College” meetings. The first is to be held at Norwich University in Northfield on May 13.  Design professionals will have the opportunity to meet, exchange information, and forge relationships with DFS plans reviewers and field inspectors.

While architects are encouraged to closely review the new codes to become familiar with all of the changes, deletions, and additions, the most significant are highlighted here: 

2012 Vermont Fire & Building Safety Code

  • Significant document reformatting of this code now provides an easier understanding of the Vermont modifications that apply to each of the three national codes.
  • A “code matrix” describes how and where the family of codes applies to project types (e.g., new construction, restorations, additions).
  • Numerous modifications to the national codes' provisions exist in Vermont’s adoption of these codes.  For instance, assisted living residences have very specific criteria defined in the Vermont code (which would override the national code), notably including minimum construction requirements meeting existing healthcare occupancies as required in 19.1.6.

To view the full document, visit www.firesafety.vermont.gov.

2012 Vermont Access Rules (which incorporate the ADA)

The 2012 Vermont Access Rules, as currently adopted, have modified the 2010 ADA in very significant ways. While it’s not easy to sort through, the 2010 ADA standards, as applied to multi-family housing, still only apply to the specific types of housing covered under the 1990 ADA law (e.g., social service housing, transient lodging, dormitories). The 2012 Vermont Rules, by including apartments in the definition of a public building, now require elevators in any multi-story public building whose floor area exceeds 1000 sq. ft. In addition, the 2012 Vermont Rules have deleted the list of elevator exemptions that were allowed under the 2007 Vermont Rules.

In February of this year, the DFS and the Access Board came to realize that the 2012 Vermont Rules needed to be revised to provide greater clarity and some exemptions from elevator requirements. They expect the revision process to take four to five months and will include input from interested parties, including AIAVT, during the process.

The 2010 ADA Rules are organized very differently than previous editions; many specific criteria have changed. Here’s a small sampling:

  • Section 206.4.1 requires 60% of public entrances to be handicapped accessible and at least one restricted access to be accessible.
  • Expenditures at 20% of the total project budget.
  • Section 603.2.3 allows doors into bathrooms to swing into fixture clearance spaces, so long as a 30 x 48-inch clear area within the room is outside of the door swing.

To view full ADA documents visit:  www.ada.gov.

NFPA 1: Fire Code

  • Includes new photovoltaic panel location requirements, 11.12.
  • Identifies new testing criteria for combustibility regarding foam plastics, 12.5
  • Specifies new standpipe requirements,
  • Denotes more stringent sprinkler requirements (not identified in NFAP 101), and
  • Identifies criteria for “safeguarding construction,” including fire doors on stairs in buildings under construction, 16.

To view the full document, contact NFPA to purchase.

2012 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code

  • More clearly identifies handrail details, which have varied in recent years, 7.2.2.
  • Requires stair identification for stairs serving three or more stories,
  • Regarding carbon monoxide detection, Vermont rules override NFPA 101.
  • Includes requirements regarding emergency forces notification, Chapter 14.
  • Requires sprinklers in schools greater than 12,000 sq. ft.
  • Calls for installation of photoelectric smoke alarms in all apartments and condos by November 1, 2015.
  • With respect to on existing buildings, includes complicated and somewhat strict requirements—depending on the level of work being contemplated. Revised from 2006, Chapter 43.

The full document is available for purchase through NFPA.

2012 IBC

  • Regarding occupancy-type changes, there are some to R2, in Section 420 and Sections 403-424 include additional special requirements, which supplement regular occupancy requirements.
  • New requirements regarding walls including providing signs on rated walls above accessible ceilings, 707.7; increasing fire separation distance from 5’ to 10’ when determining whether a wall has to be rated from inside or both sides, 705.5; and not using wired glass in rated openings (716).
  • Requirement to include sprinklers in furniture showrooms, 903.2.4. Note:  The IBC intends this requirement be retroactive.
  • New section regarding exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS), 1408.
  • Specifications for roof gardens, green roofs, etc., 1507.1.
  • Masonry design code and minimum specifications now incorporates the 2011 Masonry Standard Joint Committee (MSJC) guidelines, Chapter 21.
  • Safety glazing in windows and doors now required near bathtubs, 2406.4.5.

The full document is available for purchase through IBC.

Again, these are the just some of the changes reflected in the 2012 code cycle.  In the future, both national and Vermont codes will be updated every three years.  

In other code news, the ICC Building Safety Association of Vermont will be holding a review on June 5.

AIAVT members are encouraged to attend both the upcoming DFS and ICC codes meetings, which are certain to be helpful to design and construction professionals throughout the state. (As specifics about times, rooms, etc. become available for these meetings, AIAVT will alert members.)

Gossens Bachman Project Cited for EPA Smart Growth Award

Brattleboro’s Co-op Plaza redevelopment, a project led by Montpelier-based Gossens Bachman Architects, was recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a smart growth award in the Main Street Revitalization category. The project, which consists of a new, energy-efficient home for the town food Co-op plus 24 apartments above, was selected based on its effectiveness in creating a sustainable community; showing innovative planning and implementation; establishing a robust public involvement process; generating partnerships among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as a national model.  

EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said, "The 2012 winners of the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement are taking innovative steps to realize a vision of American communities that are clean, healthy, environmentally responsible, and economically resilient." In its particular category, the Co-op Plaza project was selected from among 47 applicants from 25 states.

The collaborative design process included the Vermont Housing Conservation Board, the Brattleboro Food Co-op owners, the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust, and Housing Vermont. The new building façade was made to align with other downtown buildings along the Main Street sidewalk, restoring the historic development pattern. The building design used many green and regenerative strategies, including recycled heat from the Co-op's refrigerators to heat both the Co-op and the apartments; locally harvested construction materials; a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity; and storm water runoff treatment and filtration by a green roof and permeable surfaces in the parking lot. The new parking area, pedestrian walkways, outside seating, and café and market areas provide a sense of community and place for chance meetings. The Co-op’s continued Main Street location provides healthy food, new jobs, and housing within walking distances of downtown and public transit.

EPN: What Is it? What’s it all About?

Are you an architect licensed less than 10 years? How about a not yet licensed architectural designer or a graduate student enrolled in an accredited program? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, Vermont's newly established Emerging Professionals Network (EPN) is here to serve you.

AIAVT-EPN, which is currently under the leadership of Director Josh Chafe, a designer employed by TruexCullins of Burlington, is aligned with AIA National’s Center for Emerging Professionals and the National Associates Committee. The purpose of the group is to foster the career development of local emerging professionals through networking, learning opportunities and community involvement.

As of early 2013, AIAVT-EPN was off and running—organizing a variety of exciting opportunities for emerging professionals.  Here’s how emerging professionals can benefit:

  • Enter the 1st Annual AIAVT-EPN Design Competition. The competition, just launched, is open to all emerging professionals living or working in New England. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2013. For complete details, visit the new Emerging Professionals section of the aiavt.org website at http://www.aiavt.org/emerg-prof/

  • Study using the latest guides. A full set of the 2012 ARE study guides has been ordered by AIAVT, for use by AIA associate members. The books will continue to be stored at AIAVT headquarters in Charlotte, Vermont. To sign out a guide, please contact Josh Chafe at 802.488.8215 or aiavt.ep@ gmail.com.

  • Get some ARE study tips. A few people who very recently passed their exams have volunteered some information. Jessica Thyme, an employee with Gossens Bachman of Montpelier, used study guides available to central Vermonters through the library at Norwich University. Rudy Polwin, of Sellers & Co. Architects in Waitsfield, is willing to share advice on studying; contact Rudy at rudypolwin@ gmail.com.

  • Join ARE Study Sessions on the second Thursday of every month via “WebEx” online meetings.  To sign up for a session, please contact Josh Chafe at 802.488.8215 or aiavt.ep@ gmail.com.

  • Make friends and contacts, and share professionally-related photos, comments, etc. on the newly launched AIAVT-EPN Facebook page.

  • Make more friends and contacts at “Draughting Club” Meetings. These take place the first Thursday of every month at various watering holes throughout the state.

  • Clear your calendar for a Design Film Series, to be held at UVM, beginning in September. (UVM is the pilot program; the program may later expand to other Vermont colleges and universities.)

  • Get involved in the construction of a public installation/folly. The outdoor pavilion that was built by young designers last year to display the AIA New England People’s Choice Award entries may be used as part of this activity.

Again, if you are interested in participating in any EPN programs, visit www.aiavt.org/emerg-prof/, find AIAVT-EPN on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aia.VT.ep or email aiavt.ep@ gmail.com for more information and to be placed on the AIAVT-EPN email distribution list. 

AIAVT Social Held at Bread Loaf Corporation

AIAVT, Bread Loaf Corporation, and Curtis Lumber teamed up to host a studio social and educational opportunity on Thursday, February 21 at Bread Loaf headquarters in Middlebury.  Nearly 25 members from several counties gathered for the one-hour presentation regarding accessibility, particularly in kitchen design, which was given by Tom Gelinas, Eastern Region Associates, Salem, New Hampshire. Gelinas, a representative of the kitchen cabinet line MasterBrands, was invited to speak by event sponsor Curtis Lumber; MasterBrands is one of many lines offered in Curtis’ stores. 

After the educational unit, attendees enjoyed socializing, eating, and imbibing in the light-filled Bread Loaf space.

Special thanks to Bread Loaf and Curtis Lumber for making this gathering possible. 

For more information about Curtis Lumber products, contact Scott Griswold at  sgriswold@ curtislumber.com.

New ENERGY STAR Homes HVAC Requirements are in Effect

Are you designing a home under the new ENERGY STAR Homes Version 3 (V.3) Program specifications? There are several significant updates in the new criteria aimed at increasing the energy efficiency, comfort, and durability of ENERGY STAR homes. One important new requirement is that all applicable criteria in the ENERGY STAR HVAC checklists must be met and verified. Homes with ducted heating and/or cooling (or ground source heat pump, regardless of distribution system) have specific requirements that need to be performed, or at least verified, by an HVAC contractor who is credentialed through an EPA-approved Quality Assurance organization. 

Currently the two EPA-approved credentialing organizations are:

Both credentialing organizations provide training and support for HVAC contractors seeking qualifications needed to work on ENERGY STAR V.3 homes. In home installations using a boiler, space heater, or ductless mini-split for space heat with no ducted air conditioning, an ACCA- or Advanced Energy-credentialed contractor is not required.

As the sponsor of the Vermont ENERGY STAR Homes Program, Efficiency Vermont is committed to increasing the numbers of, and access to, ACCA- or Advanced Energy-credentialed contractors. Toward that end, Efficiency Vermont will pay half the cost for interested HVAC contractors to obtain the credentialing needed to work on ENERGY STAR V.3 homes. For information about this credentialing offer or about how ACCA- or Advanced Energy-credentialed contractors can “sign-off” on other HVAC contractors’ work, contact Chris Gordon at 888-921-5990, ext. 7683 or cgordon@ veic.org.  

For more information on Efficiency Vermont’s Residential New Construction service, visit www.efficiencyvermont.com/rnc or contact Jeff Gephart at 800-893-1997 or vtwise@ together.net.


3/13  Vermont Residential Energy Code Workshop—8:30am, 15 Church Street, Norwich

4/1-30  AIAVT Traveling Awards Show — Norwich University, Northfield

4/3-5  the Northeast Biomass ExpoAIAVT Events —  Saratoga Springs, NY | local renewable energy, technology, and HVAC conference

4/3   AIAVT Panel Discussion, Now more than ever!  Why is the architect's role more essential than it has ever been? 6:00pm, Mahaney Center for the Arts, Middlebury College

4/8   UPSTREAM-DOWNTOWN — 7pm, ECHO Center, Burlington

4/8   Bennington College Lecture: Kevin Alter  —  April 8th, at 7:30 PM | the Symposium

5/13   “Code College,” by Vermont Division of Fire Safety.  Norwich University, Northfield.  Time TBA.

6/1   Farm to Fork Stand: A New England Architecture Competition — Organized by the AIA Vermont: Emerging Professionals, Register beginning 2/1/13

Are You Being Asked to Provide Schematics in Proposals?

In recent months, AIAVT has received several reports of what might be a growing trend among our state’s commercial architecture clients, particularly municipalities, to require architects to include pre-design, conceptual design, and preliminary estimating as part of the initial proposal process. For architects, this could mean a loss of 20% or more of their traditional fee structure.

At this point in time, AIAVT is very interested in hearing from more members about this issue. Do you believe it is a growing trend? Can you cite instances where this has occurred in the past two years? Can you name a current project/RFP where this preliminary work is being required? Are you aware of any states that have legislation to prevent such a practice? What steps, if any, do you see AIAVT taking to discourage this practice?

Please send your ideas, opinions, and concerns to Keith Dewey, AIA, at deweyaia@ sover.net. Or, if you prefer, mail anonymous responses to AIAVT, 88 Blackbird Lane, Charlotte, VT 05445. Responses will be compiled and shared with the AIAVT group that is addressing this topic. If you use email to respond and wish for your name to be removed from the compiled summary, make that clear in your response.



Jennifer Arbuckle, AIA, LEED AP, has been appointed partner at MorrisSwitzer~ Environments for Health.  Arbuckle, who has over 20 years of healthcare-specific architecture expertise, has worked extensively on projects in New York. Most recently she completed the renovation and addition of Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York. A native of Vermont, Jennifer resides in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont.

Principal David Epstein, AIA, has been promoted to managing partner of TruexCullins Architecture and Interior Design. Epstein, a Shelburne resident, joined TruexCullins in 1997. He co-leads the Education Studio, and is an expert in K-12 and international school design. He has 24 years of experience as a registered architect—creating master plans and providing architectural services for schools around the world. Epstein also presents and writes about 21st Century school design.


Banwell Architects of Quechee has been awarded the Hayward Dormitory renovation project at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, New Hamphire. The existing dorm is a 13,000 sq. ft. two-story brick structure located in the middle of the private boys’ school campus. Banwell has completed several other buildings on the rural campus, including Dewar House Dorm, North Dorm and Hopkins/Bronfman Hall.

Thanks to Black River Design Architects of Montpelier, residents of Williamstown, Massachusetts have a new state-of-the-art energy efficient gathering place for youth to enjoy after-school sports, arts, and recreation activities, and for adults to hold community meetings. The building employs eco-friendly materials and systems that were not only chosen for their aesthetic value, but also to conserve resources and save money. Specifically, the 12,000+/- sq. ft. LEED Silver targeted building was constructed using no and low volatile organic compound (VOC) to maintain high level air quality, a rooftop prepared for a large solar photovoltaic array, natural lighting in the interior, low flow plumbing fixtures, and high efficiency air to air heat pumps for heating and cooling.

Is the Economy Improving?

The AIAVT website currently has eleven listings in the Jobs section, including ten Employment Opportunities. A few weeks ago there were twelve listings. These are record high numbers. Here's hoping the trend continues!



Comfort Line Windows, LTD offers a complete line of commercial rated fiberglass windows, with U-Values starting at .029 to .016 depending upon the glass make-up. The company specializes in windows for schools, college dorms, senior citizen buildings, apartments and fire stations. Contact: Scott Davis, 517-404-0757, sdavis@comfortlineinc.com.

Stevens & Associates, PC is an integrated firm offering architectural design, structural and civil engineering, and landscape architecture from its offices in Brattleboro. The firm’s work includes historic preservation, new construction, master planning, and state and local environmental permitting. In addition to design services, the firm offers development tools such as financial pro forma’s and sources. Contact: Allyson Wendt, Marketing Director, 802-257-9329, awendt@stevens-assoc.com


VEIC, the operator of Efficiency Vermont, has received national recognition for its innovative energy efficiency programs. In a recent report, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the nation’s pre-eminent energy efficiency organization, stated that VEIC programs in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors are setting a standard that should be emulated in other states. The report “Frontiers of Energy Efficiency: Next Generation Programs Reach for High Energy Savings,” gave recognition to programs including:

  • A partnership with the Vermont Foodbank to distribute energy-saving light bulbs over the last several years, including more than 160,000 bulbs in 2011 alone;

  • DC SEU efforts that have reduced energy costs for residents of large multifamily buildings in Washington, DC, and that have installed solar panels for qualifying homeowners in certain Wards of the City; and

  • The Multifamily Housing Initiative, which has helped improve more than 5,000 housing units across Vermont since 2000.

The work of TopKat Photography’s Katrina Mojzesz was featured in the Feb/March issue of Design NJ. Mojzesz’ images accompanied a story about an 1800s Morris County barn kitchen renovation. Morristown, New Jersey architect Arturo Palumbo was the architect for the project.

AIAVT News is published by AIA Vermont, a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. 

Opinions are the author’s and not necessarily the views of AIAVT or any other organization.

AIAVT reserves the right to edit articles for available space and determine appropriate content prior to inclusion. Submissions must be received by the 15th of the month prior to publication.

For advertising rate and specifications, see our Media Kit.

Please send articles, notices, letters, and graphic submissions to the editor:

Carol Miklos, Executive Director, AIA Vermont

CMiklos@ aiavt.org

88 Blackbird Lane

Charlotte, Vermont 05445