AIA Arkansas Blog


Disaster Response

Dear AIA Arkansas members,

First and foremost, we certainly hope that this correspondence finds you well after last Sunday’s devastating storms. As we’re sure you’re aware, this has been a very eye-opening, and quite frankly, heartbreaking experience for many Arkansans alike. Whether you sustained a direct impact or have followed the media coverage regarding the loss of lives and property, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been impacted in one way or another.  Nothing is ever guaranteed and we must stick together through the coming weeks and months to do what we can to help get the communities that were hit, rebuilt and thriving again. I believe I speak for us all when I say that we will come together, not only as a membership, but as a group of caring individuals across the state, to make sure we help where we can. We consider ourselves family and AIA members WILL rise to the challenge and help each other and our neighbors in need.

So far, we have been notified of one AIA Arkansas member who lost their home. One of our goals in this email is to reach out to each of you in hopes that you can help us assess the damage that our membership has sustained as a whole. In keeping with that, if you (or another member that you know) were directly affected by the storms, please respond to this email or contact our office. If there is an account set up online for crowdfunding/fundraising (i.e. GoFundMe, etc.) or through a financial institution where persons may contribute, please include that in your communication to us. We would like to compile and send out a comprehensive list of members that were affected, what their most pressing needs are, and where/how people can contribute.

Additionally, please join us in saying a very special prayer for the families that have lost loved ones. As we all know, any loss is devastating, but homes and buildings can be rebuilt and restored while the loss of life is far more devastating and cannot be replaced.

Next, we would like to bring to your attention some things to consider when acting as a “Good Samaritan” and offering architectural services/opinions on a volunteer basis. While we encourage you to volunteer as any other citizen would, the state of Arkansas does NOT have a Good Samaritan law and we want to make you aware of the many issues that can arise, namely that as a licensed professional, standards of care may still apply, irrespective of whether work is done on a volunteer basis. Please see the below bullet points for further clarification.

  • Damaged buildings can pose a lingering threat to public safety long after the disaster event has taken place.
  • Architects are licensed to protect public health, safety and welfare, and the expertise of design professionals are needed to provide immediate services after a disaster to aid in recovery efforts. However, licensed professionals are held to a higher standard of care under the law and these volunteer activities expose architects to potential liability.
  • Without Good Samaritan legislation in place in Arkansas, it is the recommendation of the AIA that its members NOT volunteer services that could be construed as architectural services.

Please note: The bullet points listed above are for guidance and should not be treated as legal advice as we are not attorneys. As always, you should check with your own attorney if you have any concerns.

In closing, AIA Arkansas recently received a letter from the 2014 AIA President, Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, sharing her condolences on behalf AIA’s national chapter. Please click below to view that letter.  

Letter from President Dreiling

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the AIA Arkansas office at (501) 666-1111 or via email at info@aiaar.org

Sincerely,  

Wesley Walls, AIA
2014 President
wwalls@polkstanleywilcox.com