To keep up with industry trends and important court decisions, every 10 years the AIA core set of contracts are reviewed and updated. The newly revised set of AIA contracts and forms were released April 2017. Major changes include a single Sustainable Project Exhibit that can be added to any AIA document to address the risks and responsibilities associated with sustainable projects; document title changes; new agreements containing a fill point to prompt the parties to discuss and insert an appropriate “termination fee” for terminations for convenience; and an added evaluation provision by the architect if the contractor proposes an alternative means and methods.
It is critically important that architects learn about the 2017 revisions, says Kenneth Cobleigh, Esq., Managing Director and Counsel of AIA Contract Documents. Many of them impact the role and responsibilities of the architect directly. Others directly impact the roles and responsibilities of the owner and the contractor, and the architect will need to understand those impacts in order to provide advice to the owner and to adequately perform contract administration services.
Single Sustainable Projects Exhibit
The Documents Committee, a group of experts in the fields of design, construction, law, and insurance who draft and revise AIA Contract Documents, developed the E204™–2017, Sustainable Projects Exhibit. In a single document, E204–2017 sets forth the roles and responsibilities for each of the project participants. Once the owner determines that the project will involve a sustainable objective, E204–2017 will be incorporated into the owner-architect and owner-contractor agreements and incorporated as appropriate into each of the other project agreements.
Document Title Change
Title changes to B104™-2017, Standard Abbreviated Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect and B105™-2017, Standard Short Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect better reflect the complexity and risk associated with the specific project, rather than just the type of project. For example, the title of B105-2017 was changed to indicate that it is a short form contract, whereas the previous title “for a Small Commercial or Residential Project,” may have suggested that it should be used for a residential project without consideration of complexity and risk. Someone performing residential work could use B101™-2017, B104-2017, B105-2017, or several other documents, depending on the complexity associated with the project.
Clarification of Payment
Finally, the document that will affect architects the most is B101-2017, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect. B101–2017 now allows the parties to indicate whether the architect will be compensated based on a stipulated sum, a percentage of the owner’s budget for the cost of the work, or on some “other” basis. If compensation is based on a “percentage basis,” the parties assign a percentage figure to each phase of basic services. Progress payments for each phase of basic services are calculated by multiplying the percentages by the owner’s most recent budget for the cost of the work.