Hurricane updates from AIA's Disaster Assistance Program

This page will be updated as conditions change - Last updated September 26, 2017

Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria

Hurricanes Jose and Maria have caused catastrophic destruction to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Significant damage to buildings and a complete loss of power and cell towers has made it very difficult to connect with members and coordinate disaster response.  We are in intermittent contact with the AIA leadership in both areas where they are summoning local architects to perform safety assessments.  

How to help

At this time, the life safety and health of Puerto Ricans is quite critical.  They need support with basic needs:  water, food, and medicine.  We encourage you to donate funds to a trusted organization, so that the most important resources get to those in need:

United for Puerto Rico by Puerto Rico’s First Lady, Beatriz Rossello

Donate >

One America Appeal organized for hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria by the five living former U.S. Presidents

Donate >

All Hands Volunteers - USVI hurricane response and Texas hurricane Harvey response

Donate >


At this time, we do not have member volunteer opportunities to assist with Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria. Contact the voluntary organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) for other ways to engage.  

Architects engaging in hurricane recovery

AIA Miami trained 70 new volunteers for safety assessments of buildings this past week.  AIA Florida is connecting those in need of assistance in the Caribbean region through their Facebook page.  Learn more >

Our hearts go out to those impacted by these tragic storms.

Information for firms, members, and clients

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Disaster Help Desk for Business to navigate the recovery process. Learn more >
  • Residents and business owners in designated areas who sustained damage should apply for assistance by registering online at DisasterAssistance.Gov. Register here >
  • The FEMA mobile app for directions to open shelters and weather alerts. Download >
  • FEMA - Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) and Rental Assistance Learn more >
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - FEMA Operation Blue Roof Learn more >​
  • Small businesses can contract with the federal government to assist in relief and recovery efforts following a major disaster. Learn more >
  • Loans from the Small Business Administration Learn more >

Providing pro bono services post-disaster

Disaster relief and rebuilding efforts often present opportunities for architects to provide pro bono services. Of course, as with every professional endeavor, it is important that the nature and scope of any Pro Bono Services, and the terms governing those services, be memorialized in writing.

We publish an Owner-Architect agreement,  AIA Contract Document® B106™– 2010, Standard form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for Pro Bono Services, for use in these circumstances. AIA Document B106™–2010 is a standard form of agreement between owner and architect for building design, construction contract administration, or other professional services provided on a pro bono basis.

The architect’s pro bono services are professional services for which the architect receives no financial compensation other than compensation for reimbursable expenses. A table format is provided which the parties use to designate the scope of the architect’s pro bono services and the maximum number of hours to be provided by the architect for each designated pro bono service. If the architect is providing construction phase services, B106–2010 is intended to be used in conjunction with AIA Document A201™–2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, which it incorporates by reference. NOTE: B106–2010 is available in AIA Contract Document® software, but not in paper. An interactive B106 form is available free of charge from AIA Document on Demand®.

There are responsibilities and risks associated with professional services rendered on a pro bono basis. In order to fully understand those responsibilities and risks, in addition to reviewing the suite of tools on our website, practitioners should consider discussing any pro bono services with their firm leadership, insurance providers, and legal counsel.

Download standard form >

Post-hurricane safety assessments of buildings

Did you know: the majority of deaths and injuries associated with disasters occur after the event?  Flood waters contain sewage and toxic chemicals, and disguise roaming wildlife, live wires, and sharp objects. At the request of the local jurisdiction, AIA’s trained volunteers can provide safety assessments of buildings before unsuspecting residents return to their homes. The building Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training offered by AIA’s Disaster Assistance program provides architects with the specialized knowledge and technical skills to architects, engineers and building inspectors needed to determine if a home or other building is safe and habitable.  

Upcoming SAP trainings in states affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma include:

AIA Corpus Christi, October 14


How to help our members


As a result of the more than 4 feet of flood inundation, AIA Houston has moved to its temporary office space, generously donated by HOK. Architecture Center Houston was within three weeks of completion when the storm hit and flood mitigation designed specifically for this type of event was not yet fully installed.   The risk policy carried by the contractor will cover some of the costs, but has a $250,000 deductible.

Architecture Center Houston could use your help. All donations will be acknowledged on a special donor wall inside the new center.  All donations are tax deductible and will go to the Architecture Center Houston Foundation, a 501c3 charitable institution whose mission is to educate the public on issues of architecture, urban planning, and design.

Any funds raised in excess of the need for the new center will be directed to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund set up by the City of Houston.

Donate to the Architecture Center Houston >


To volunteer, contact the voluntary organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD).  

Architects as stewards of public health and safety

Architects can use their building knowledge to help their communities both before and after a disaster. AIA's Disaster Assistance Program supports Components and equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally in leadership and volunteer roles.

Join the national AIA Resilience Network

The AIA Resilience Network is a virtual member forum focusing on topics of hazard mitigation, disaster assistance, climate adaptation and resilience.  Network members share knowledge, news, research and events and based on your interest and expertise, AIA matches members with opportunities to participate in conferences or panel presentations. Resilience is a systems-based approach to addressing shocks and stresses, and it requires a variety of perspectives, skills and experience.

Join now >

Learn about the important role of architects in disasters

Want to prepare for the hazards in your own back yard and be ready to respond as a “citizen architect” to help your community recover from a hazard event?  Connect with your local or state AIA chapter to inquire about your state’s disaster assistance program. A directory of chapter committees can be found in the Appendix of the 3rd Edition of the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook.  

Download the AIA Disaster Assistance Handbook >

Disaster Assistance Program

The AIA Disaster Assistance Program supports chapters and equips architects with the knowledge and skills to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disaster. Since 1972, the program has ensured that AIA, Chapters, and members are prepared to assist communities nationwide and internationally in leadership and volunteer roles.

Learn more >

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