The American Council of Engineering Companies of Hawaii (ACECH) is the state’s only nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the business climate and promoting the professional environment of engineers, surveyors and industry specialists. ACECH represents a roster of 66 member firms, employing over 1,500 employees throughout Hawaii.
Established in 1964, the ACECH is the state affiliate of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), a national federation of more than 5,300 member firms representing over 500,000 employees throughout the country, and collectively responsible for over $200 billion in private and public works annually. Its mission is to contribute to America’s prosperity and welfare by advancing the business interests of its member firms.
As the state affiliate of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), ACECH is an advocate for laws and policies that protect, enhance and promote the business interests of private engineering companies in Hawaii.
Advocacy for the Engineering Industry
Through its local Political Action Committee (PAC), ACECH supports House and Senate members who align with ACECH’s legislative priorities at the state level. ACECH’s legislative committee actively tracks bills that involve:
>_State Contract Language (Indem-nification) – Relating to State of Hawaii General Terms and Conditions that require the design professional to indemnify and defend the state before negligence or fault is determined.
>Procurement – Protecting and strengthening qualification-based selection procedures for the selection of design professionals and work with the Hawaii Procurement Institute to provide procurement training. Promoting outsourcing of design services for government projects to private engineering companies that takes advantage of expertise, innovation and on-time performance.
>Tort Reform – Working toward improving the legal climate in Hawaii with meaningful tort reform legislation.
>Taxes and Insurance – Looking out for legislation related to taxes and insurance that could negatively impact engineering companies.
>Other Issues – Funding related to infrastructure spending, licensure requirements, permit applications, environmental assessments and impact statements, and regulations that may negatively affect business operations.
ACECH also tracks other important bills in the State Legislature relating to streamlining of permit applications, environmental impact statements, transit-oriented development, general excise tax waiver suspension and insurance.
ACECH spearheaded the establishment of a Design Claims Conciliation Panel to provide the parties with advisory determination of the relative merits of any claim brought against a design professional licensed under HRS Chapter 464.
A Design-Build Law passed, requiring a two-step procurement process for design-build projects limiting the short list to no more than three teams. Included is language for possible payment of conceptual design fee.
Also passed was legislation that no contract of less than $1 million between any governmental body and design professional licensed under HRS Chapter 464 may require the design contractor to defend the governmental body, with a statute of repose limited to 10 years.
ACECH coordinates client-focused and business-centered workshops and conferences that complement ACEC’s curriculum of training, providing member firms with numerous opportunities for learning and networking. Through monthly general membership meetings, ACECH provides opportunities to network in educational breakfast meeting settings, which have recently included speakers from both the government and private sectors.
ACECH collaborates with representatives of government agencies to present important educational opportunities to its members through established symposia and special projects and workshop programs, as well as represent the interests and perspectives of its members on timely topics.
Working on myriad projects throughout the Islands, consulting engineering firms affect community life all around us. Each January, ACECH provides an opportunity for engineering firms to showcase their best projects and to receive recognition from peers through the Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) competition. The coveted Grand Conceptor award is granted annually to the project that reflects the highest degree of uniqueness, innovation, sustainability, complexity, successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, and perception by the public and future value to the engineering profession. ACECH also recognizes and promotes outstanding individuals in the consulting engineering profession through its Young Engineers and Fellows Program.