Senate Passes Paycheck Protection Increase Act

COVID-19 Weekly Updates

 

Just a few hours ago, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020 which provides additional funding for the small business loans included in the CARES Act: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). We expect the House of Representatives to pass this same bill soon.


If your firm is eligible and interested in a loan but did not receive one in the last round, you should act quickly. The funding is allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Don’t wait for Congress to finalize this deal—applications are still being processed before new funding is made available, so apply now.

AIA NATIONAL NEWS

MUST READ

Your number one request from the last week? Guidance on construction administration. Here are guidelines and protocols from three firms on construction administration and site visits.. The "legal" tab on our COVID-19 response page has more, including two popular resources, the architect's standard of care relative to site visits and how AIA contracts address issues related to COVID-19. Much of our focus has been on business resources and legislation. Last week we launched a survey to identify architecture projects related to COVID-19. The projects are still coming in, but you can see the more than 100 that have been submitted so far, including health systems, screening booths, temporary structures, alternative care sites, and more. 

One area we'll be spending more time on is resources for emerging professionals. This overview from AIA's advocacy team discusses 
student loan debt relief provisions in the CARES Act, including repayments, how your employer can help, and info for current students.

Economic Outlook

Unemployment claims have been dominating the news this past week. Each Wednesday, AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker hosts a weekly webinar to walk through the latest developments and economic data and discuss the impact it's having on firms. Watch last week's session and register for tomorrow's. This helpful resource from Brookings explains unemployment insurance, how it works, and what's changed as a result of the CARES Act.

More on this topic

Legislation & Relief

We've been talking a lot about this webinar, which covers how the CARES Act benefits architects and firms. Our new companion FAQ collects the questions you submitted during the live event and provides detailed answers. AIA partner Deltek is hosting a webinar on 4/20 to address the business development impact of policy in four key areas. Even if you can't make it, sign up and you'll receive a link to the recording. The U.S. Department of the Treasury's website has Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications, affiliation rules, a tool to find eligible lenders, and more. Their PPP FAQ (PDF) is particularly helpful.

ESD Guidance Document Update on Construction

(enacted to address the COVID-19 Outbreak)

Please see the revised ESD Guidance document on the website below (UPDATED: APRIL 9, 2020 at 8:00 AM). This includes some very important information and updates concerning construction, real estate services and certain businesses from seeking waivers. 

 

The posting is available on the ESD website:

https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026

 

 Local governments and their legal counsel should check this site regularly for updates.

CARES ACT

SBA Payroll Protection Program (more information below). Interested businesses with fewer than 5 employees should apply ASAP as applications that are submitted will still be processed. Click here for more information.

The CARES Act The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act primarily provides financing assistance to small businesses and non-profits through SBA and other tax provisions. Regulations and procedures are still being developed, but the major programs and initiatives of the Act include:

  • Paycheck Protection Program – Provides traditional 7(a) Loans with payment forgiveness of up to 8 weeks of payroll based on employee retention and salary levels, no SBA fees, and at least six months of deferral with maximum deferrals of up to a year

  • Emergency Economic Injury Grants – Provides up to $10,000 of advance that does not need to be repaid to applicants of the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

  • Employee Retention Tax Credit for Employers Subject to Closure or Experiencing Economic Hardship – Provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by employers whose operations have been fully or partially suspended as a result of government order.

  • Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes – Provides deferment to allow taxpayers to delay paying the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020.

See complete CARES ACT MEMO HERE

 
 
NYS Unemployment Filing – NYS’s Department of Labor is working tirelessly to handle incoming claims. If you have been unable to get through the phone and/or online system this week, please keep trying. Once filed, all benefits will be retroactive to the day you were out of work. For more information, please contact 1-888-4-NYSDOL (888-469-7365). Or visit http://labor.ny.gov.

NCARB

Prometric Update from 3/23/20 


How and When Can You Reschedule?

  • You can reschedule your early-April appointments now at no cost by logging into your NCARB Record. Otherwise, all exam appointments between April 1 – 15, 2020, will be cancelled by end of day on March 31.

  • NCARB will apply a seat credit to your account allowing you to reschedule this or any other future division at no cost.

  • As test centers are expected to be at capacity upon their reopening, candidates are advised to consider rescheduling appointments during the late-May or June timeframe.

Rolling Clock Update


A 90-day rolling clock extension will be applied retroactively to all valid passing scores as of March 1, 2020.
All extensions will be granted by our candidate management system by end of day on Tuesday, March 24.


Moving Forward

  •  Prometric currently expects to reopen test centers on April 16, 2020, pending additional developments in the Coronavirus outbreak.

  • If you are testing outside of the United States or Canada, please check the Prometric website to determine if your test center remains open.

For the latest information, visit NCARB's regularly updated coronavirus page.

 
UPDATES FROM AIA NATIONAL
AIA Member Resources

AIA National website COVID-19 Resources page has been completely reformatted to include a repository of resources for members, including free webinars, Architect's Guide to Business Continuity, a Disaster Assistance Handbook, a compendium on Good Samaritan laws around the country, small business guidance and loan resources, and a list of best practices and templates for communications and temporary policies in response to the COVID-19. For their COVID-19 resources page, CLICK HERE

COVID-19 ARCHMAP 

The COVID-19 ArchMap provides information on health care facilities including alternative care facilities around the globe responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. AIA's task force developed the map in partnership with the Kansas University Institute of Health + Wellness Design, to help identify solutions to growing bed surge needs and to support the development of design best practices for alternative care sites that support pandemic response. Architects, designers, engineers and facility owners are asked to contribute current, in-progress or completed COVID-19 projects as well as collaborative initiatives addressing the pandemic to AIA's repository. Project information will appear on the COVID-19 ArchMap.

COVID-19 TASKFORCES

Over the past few weeks, three task forces have been organized. Two aim to connect architects to community needs and equip our members with the proper tools to provide expert assistance in this time of great need.  Another creates a forum to support business continuity as the crisis unfolds.

  • Task Force 1: charged to compile best practices related to how architects can help communities across America. A database of information, accessible through (ArchMap) is being created to feature success stories from each state. To include helpful examples of how architects can help in the following areas:

    • Creating additional bed capacity in existing facilities

    • Retrofitting buildings or other facilities identified to fulfill demand.

    • Designing for doctor and patient protocols, including separating providers from patients within deployable tents.

    • Designing queuing systems

    • Designing testing stations for walk-up/drive-up, hospital and retail locations in urban, suburban, and ex-urban areas.

    • Creating spaces that can help mitigate the spread of disease.

  • Task Force 2: charged to mobilize components to connect architects with community leaders for disaster preparedness and assistance. The following activities have been or are in the process of being completed:

    • An eight step document “COVID-19 Guidelines for Engagement” has been created and shared with all representatives from CACE, the Disaster Assistance Network, the State and Local Government Network, and component presidents.

    • A letter to leading government officials (the governor’s office, mayors, public health officials) has been crafted and shared within all networks.

    • A special COVID-19 Advisory has gone out to the AIA’s Disaster Assistance Network.

    • Knowledge Community leaders are being contacted. Each KC is being asked to prepare a list of potential action items within their area of expertise (an example…how do schools implement short term safety measures). This information will diversify the ArchMap tool being compiled by Task Force 1 and should help with the longer term reaction to the pandemic.

  • Task Force 3 is looking at short term and long term implications to practice and business continuity as a result of the pandemic.

    • An AIAU webinar offered on April 2, 2020 at 3pm provided valuable insight into what architects need to know surrounding the CARES Act which was signed into law and provides immediate economic tools to small business owners and individuals (Paycheck Protection Plan and other initiatives).

    • A webinar is offered on April 2, 2020 at 2pm and hosted by chief economist Kermit Baker. This seminar focused on the potential economic impact of this pandemic on the construction industry with more to come.

    • Members of the task force are looking long term at how the profession may be permanently changed and how practices may have to adapt to a new practice dynamic

 

ADVOCACY UPDATE

On the advocacy front, the AIA has been very busy.

  • The AIA issued memos which influenced the first two federal bills in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Coronavirus Preparedness Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

  • A second memo and letter from Robert Ivy and President Frederick went to capital hill as we signed on to the CARES Act. The CARES Act provides a broad range of assistance to small businesses, including very favorable terms for SBA loans, deferred payroll tax opportunities, modifications to policies related to business losses, a qualified improvement property (QIP) cost write off, and temporary relief from troubled debt restructuring. The bill also allows employers to provide a student loan repayment benefit to employees on a tax-free basis (can contribute up to $5,250 annually to an employee and this would be excluded from their income).

  • A bi-partisan House companion bill to the Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act has been released and we are monitoring it closely. This bill would permit treatment of student loan payments as elective deferrals for purposes of employer matching contributions.

  • A clearinghouse of information to assist with the design of safer schools has been activated and the AIA submissions are under review for inclusion.

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The Long Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

499 Jericho Turnpike | Suite 101 | Mineola, NY. 11501

 T: (516) 294-0971 | F: (516) 294-0973 | E: ann@aialongisland.com