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Like the United States Census Bureau’s sia of the American people once every decennial, so too does the American Institute of Architects introduce new versions of its form contract documents.

Earlier this year, the AIA introduced to the construction industry several new versions of its form construction documents. The AIA has been issuing new and revised versions of its form documents since These documents have been evolving over this near year period to include and acknowledge changes in industry technology, construction practices and case law involving litigated construction issues.

However, there are several important substantive changes and additions.

This article will highlight the most important changes to be found in the revised documents. The AIA A document contains the general conditions of the contract for construction.

Article > Recent Changes to the AIA Form Contract Documents

This document is the keystone document of all AIA contract documents in that it provides the framework of and for the relationships of those involved in the particular project as well as the contextual support for the other contract documents. The significant changes in the A include the following: In the version of the A contractors and subcontractors were entitled to “reasonable overhead and profit on work not executed” in the event of a termination of the project or contract by the project owner.

Likewise, architects and consultants were entitled to “anticipated profit on the value of services not performed. Instead, contractors will only be entitled to payment for work properly executed along with costs incurred by reason of the termination including costs attributable to the termination of subcontracts and the termination fee, if any, set forth in the agreement.

Amending the AIA A401-2007 to avoid pro rata share backcharges for job site cleanup

With the sia to section The A document provides at Section 1. This section now permits for delivery of various required Notices by e-mail a4001 other electronic transmission if set forth in the Agreement. It should be noted however that section 1. Beginning with the A version, the owner and contractor are free to communicate directly with one another and are no longer required to communicate through the architect.


However, the owner and contractor aiq required to include the architect in their communications. The owner is further obligated to promptly notify the architect of the substance of any direct communications between the owner and contractor relating to the project. Under the A documents, in article 15, all claims by the owner or contractor were to be submitted in the first instance to an Initial Decision Maker. Beginning with the A, specifically at Section No decision by the Initial Decision Maker is required for these claims.

Removing of Lien Claims: The A at new section 9.

However, this section makes it clear that this indemnification obligation is only triggered if the owner has fulfilled its payment obligations under the contract documents to the contractor. Prior to the version of the A, the architect was authorized to order the contractor to perform minor changes in the Work. In the A, the architect is required to make its order for minor changes in writing. a4001

If, on the other hand the contractor moves forward to perform the a40 set forth in the architect’s order for a minor change without prior notice to the architect that such change will affect the contract sum or contract time, the contractor waives any adjustment to the contract sum or extension of the contract time.

This contract change is found at section 7. If the owner fails to do so, the contractor is not required to commence work on the project. In addition, the owner has a limited right after construction starts to request proof of financing, but only in the event the owner fails to pay the contractor, the contractor provides written notice of a reasonable concern regarding the owner’s ability to pay, or a change in scope materially alters the contract price.

If the owner has failed to respond with the requested proof of financing within 14 days, the contractor has the right to stop its work. In addition to the above changes in the A the American Institute of Architects has created additional exhibits including a separate multipage exhibit for insurance and bonds. Whereas the required insurances and bonds were found at Iaa 11 in prior versions of the A this information is now set forth in this newly created document. This new insurance and bonds exhibit is used as an exhibit to the A, A and A agreement documents.


This exhibit addresses almost all of the insurance and bond requirements for the owner and contractor. This article was intended not to be a comprehensive recitation of all changes but rather to highlight the important changes in the A General Conditions document. It is notable that over the several versions of the general conditions document A from its debut in to the current version, it has become increasingly s401.

To be sure new technologies, construction techniques, construction methods, and even case law have all contributed to the increased number of topics addressed in the A For comparison sake, the initial A issued by the American Institute of Architects in was comprised of approximately 20 pages of general conditions. Aa the introduction of the version of the A, the current general conditions now weigh in at a hefty 36 pages. If the hallmark of formation and enforceability of contractual relationships is a meeting of the minds s401 a clear bargained for exchange it at least merits acknowledging that the length of contracts involving owners, contractors and architects, particularly the AIA a41, are becoming increasingly lengthy with each iteration.

This of course begs the question as to whether the inclusion of more terms will make a contract document more 4a01, or will the ever increasing length and number of terms instead lead to the likelihood of ambiguity and inconsistency of terms.

If the length of the contract documents someday z401 not already todaywill result in the greater likelihood that these contracts will go unread by those subject to its terms simply due to their daunting length, should we be seeking to account for and address every new innovation, technology, trend, construction means, and precedential court case in our contract documents moving forward?

While this may simply be a question to ponder… there is an undeniable trend. Tom has been assisting and advising clients in the construction industry for 25 years.