AIA Contract Documents’ Benefits
American Institute of Architects (AIA) has several categories of contract document that are interconnected, reference between difference discipline in the construction industry. These contract documents are written and revised by architects, contractors, material suppliers, investors/clients in the industry. Because of this, these documents are believed to be fair to all parties and it considers all legal aspect of the project. One of the main advantage of using these documents is that, it reduce both project cost and legal cost. The reason is that everyone in the industry know about these documents, and it is very well written by all representatives of the industry. Architects, Contractors, and investors know using these document reduce and manage their risk, and it is insurable. Ultimately these standard documents reduce the cost by removing inflated cost of risk, and unknowns.
The type of AIA documents are divided based on delivery methods including; design-bid-build, Construction Manager as an Advisor, Construction Manager as a Contractor, design-build, and integrated project delivery method. In each series there are contract documents for architect, contractors, subcontractors, and there even separate documents for additional series, bid phase, or CA phase necessarily documents.
The most common contract series for design-bid-build are A101 (Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Contractor where the basis of payment is a Stipulated Sum), B101 (Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect), C401 (Standard Form of Agreement Between Architect and Consultant), and A401 (Standard Form of Agreement Between Contractor and Subcontractor). For small design-bid-build projects, there are only two documents including; A105 (Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Contractor for a Residential or Small Commercial Project) and B105(Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for a Residential or Small Commercial Project).
I always take time to talk to my clients to see what contract documents fit their needs. There are other aspect that need to be consider when choosing project delivery methods such as spearin gap risk, and client needs and wants.