The Small Business Administration (SBA) has abandoned its original plans to increase the size standard for architects eligible for SBA set-asides by 400% after “thousands” voiced opposition to the plan during a public-comment period, the American Institute of Architects reports.
| Jeff Potter, AIA president|
Following the comment period, SBA reevaluated its proposal and decided to increase the current $4.5 million (in annual receipts) size standard to $7 million for an architecture firm to qualify as a small business. The original proposal of $19 million ran into a buzzsaw of opposition from AIA and member firms.
The AIA filed comments in June 2011 strongly opposing the measure, noting that the large increase would be “devastating” to small firms. (See AIA Voices Strong Opposition to SBA Plan to Change ‘Small Business’ Definition.)
The SBA program provides approximately $190 billion of the $700 billion in federal government contracts each year to firms that qualify as small businesses, AIA said.
The SBA’s decision reflects concerns expressed in the more than 1,200 comments received by the agency during the comment period, AIA said.
“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.
More than 90% of the comments rejected the $19 million cap for architects originally proposed by the agency, AIA said.
“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 grouped architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, and mapping into the same $19 million bucket, AIA said.
In addition, the proposal would have permitted large architectural firms that offer a variety of disciplines to qualify for small-business benefits, at a time when such “aggregated” firms do not represent the current demographic for architecture firms, 80% of which have 10 or fewer employees, AIA said.
More information: www.aia.org.