AIA Document A– is used as one part of the Contract Documents which memorialize the Contract for Construction between the Owner and the. AIA. ®. Document ATM. – Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Contractor where the basis of payment is the Cost of the Work Plus a. use in competitive bidding. AIA Document A™–,. General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, is adopted in this document by reference. Do not.

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Ddocument American Institute of Architects AIA publishes a variety of standard form construction contracts used throughout the industry. Earlier this year, the AIA released its first update to the form contracts in 10 years. The new versions contain a number of changes that are of particular significance to commercial contractors.


This article discusses changes to a few of the most widely used contractor forms: Understanding these changes now can help contractors as they negotiate future construction contracts under the new forms.

Standard Form Agreements Between Owner and Contractor A and A The date of commencement in a construction project can be critical for determining how long contractors have to complete work or to determine if damages might be due if construction takes longer than the allotted time.

Under prior versions of A and A, the date of commencement was, by default, the date of the agreement. The new versions provide for different options the parties can choose a02 constitute the date of commencement, including the date of execution of the agreement or the date that the contractor rocument a notice to proceed.


Negotiating for the best term could provide additional time for the contractor to finish work on a project.

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The new versions of A and A provide that if final completion of the work is delayed through no fault of the contractor, the owner shall pay the contractor in accordance with the payment terms of the contract.

Under prior versions of these form agreements, this provision concerned material delays in final completion of the work only after substantial completion — the point at which the building can be occupied or used for its intended purpose.

The new language in the versions strongly suggests that an owner is obliged to make payment where material documenf occur through aai fault of the contractor at any time during the project, not just after substantial completion. This new provision could help contractors get paid for delays sooner in the construction timeline. The prior version contained an exception to this rule where the contract documents contained other specific instructions regarding the means and methods of construction.

That exception is not contained in the version. Under the new version, a contractor must give timely notice and propose alternatives if it considers the means and methods specified in the contract documents to be unsafe, without exception. That change places a significant responsibility on a contractor to determine the safety of the means and methods contained in the contract, regardless of which party to the contract proposed those means and methods.

If a contractor believes a minor change to the work that is ordered by the architect will affect the contract sum or time, the contractor must now notify the architect, and the contractor cannot proceed with the minor change until the issue is resolved.


The new version of A allows for direct communications between the owner and the contractor. Although the architect still needs to be kept in ais loop on any matter affecting the architect, this change should help prevent misunderstandings between an owner and a contractor about their respective expectations for a project.

As was the case with the prior version of A, an owner may terminate a contract at any time without cause. The new version of A does not contain the notice or specificity requirements, placing the contractor in a weaker position in the event of termination.

A contractor may now recover a termination fee if the owner terminates the contract for convenience, but dofument if that fee is set forth in the contract materials.

There are a host of other changes to these and other versions of the AIA form construction contracts. An experienced construction attorney can walk contractors through these changes and help them understand socument effects of the changes before beginning negotiations on a new project. Where contractors are already committed to a project and x102 themselves in a dispute over the meaning and effect of the AIA contract terms, a qualified construction litigation firm can help contractors maximize their leverage and achieve the best outcome.