Contract DocumentsContract Documents
AIA Contract Documents reflect the best, most up-to-date legal trends and building industry practices. To maintain such a high level of accuracy and timeliness, the AIA adheres to a documents revision policy. This policy requires periodic republishing of new editions and, after a stated grace period, withdrawal of prior editions from the marketplace. This system is not meant to inconvenience users or to force them to spend their valuable time reviewing new documents. Our intention is to serve the construction industry by ensuring that AIA Contract Documents are current and fair to all participating parties.
A sampling of why we make changes:
Industry practices change
The building industry is not immune to the effects of the rapidly developing and changing information and technology field. More than ever, technology dictates how architects, contractors, and owners execute projects. AIA documents account for and support these new methods and practices.
The architect's role changes
As architects expand the services they provide to clients, many enter into nontraditional methods of project delivery or want to specialize in one or more areas. As the scope of services changes, so do the tools available to the practitioner. AIA Contract Documents must reflect changes in economics, in the construction industry, in project delivery, and in the practice of architecture.
Service to the client is the cornerstone of the relationship established by AIA B101™. Disclosure, transparency of the process, and fluid communication are central characteristics of the owner/architect agreement. Changes in the way that architects, owners, and contractors interact dictate the direction of AIA Contract Documents.
Legal issues evolve
The AIA Documents Committee incorporates new developments in legal thought and acceptable industry practice into the AIA documents. For example, mediation as a form of dispute resolution was rejected by most insurers of design professionals in the 1970s. By 1997 those opinions had changed and mediation was accepted by all industry participants, even the insurers who once rejected it. Accordingly, in 1997 the AIA incorporated mediation as a condition precedent to other forms of dispute resolution in many of its owner/architect and owner/contractor agreements.
Sometimes a new concept brings unintended and unwelcome consequences that must be corrected. For example, as construction change directives became accepted into construction industry practices, abuses developed. Owners frequently did not pay contractors for the cost of work performed under construction change directives until a change order was signed, often months later. This abuse needed to be stopped. AIA Document A201™ provides a mechanism for making payment for undisputed amounts.
New participants enter the field
AIA documents address the roles of new participants in the design and construction process. For example, construction managers, design-builders, and project managers extend the list of participants beyond the traditional owner, architect, and contractor. In response, the AIA creates new documents and revises its existing ones to take into account new roles and responsibilities.