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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has published standard form agreements since 1888. AIA Contract Documents have long been viewed as the industry standard in reflecting current industry practices and fairly balancing the risks and responsibilities of all project participants. With changes to industry sustainability practices, AIA Contract Documents has overhauled the AIA Scope documents including the commissioning scope of services.

Until the last few decades, many buildings were never commissioned to verify that they performed as intended. Building owners often viewed commissioning as an expensive add-on at the end of a project that wrecked their budget and added little value. As sustainability awareness gained momentum, the need for commissioning took center stage. After all, what good is a fancy energy-saving design if no one tested to make sure it worked properly?

LEED, and other green rating systems, recognized this issue and required commissioning as a prerequisite to certification. Today, most sustainability programs require commissioning, as do many progressive building and energy codes. Building owners are also starting to understand that commissioning can easily pay for itself over the life cycle of a building.

The AIA’s C203-2017 commissioning scope has been updated to take these changes into account. It now allows the commissioning agent to be involved much earlier in the project, working with the design and construction team throughout. It is also no longer an “architect only” scope, and commissioning professionals from all backgrounds can use it to perform these services.

Additional major changes to AIA Scope documents include:

  • B203-2017, Site Evaluation and Project Feasibility allows the architect to assist an owner in selecting a site and determining the feasibility of a project. An owner can use the services provided by the architect in B203 to decide whether a site, or sites, are suitable for a project, or to determine the development potential of a site.
  • B205-2017, Historic Preservation was reorganized into four categories: Historic Assessment, Existing Buildings Assessment, Preservation Planning and Specific State and Federal Services. These categories align with the typical chronology of services an architect might provide on a project with historically significant buildings or features. B205 also clarifies the architect’s responsibility regarding hazardous materials on a project with historically significant buildings or features.
  • B207-2017, On-Site Project Representation allows the owner and architect to establish the scope of the onsite project representative’s authority to act on behalf of the architect. B207 also includes enhanced and clarified responsibilities for the onsite project representative.
  • B210-2017, Facility Support was restructured into the following six service categories: (1) Facility Condition Assessment, (2) Facility Performance Assessment, (3) Operations Assessment, (4) Space Management, (5) Maintenance Management and (6) Digital Facility Management System. B210 was also modified so that it can be used to hire an architect to perform facility support services on one or multiple facilities.
  • C203-2017, Commissioning was updated to reflect changes in the industry. The C203 now includes: provisions describing the consultant’s role to assist in preparing the owner’s project requirements, commissioning-related design reviews, consultant’s role in commissioning during the construction phase of the project and a detailed description of the consultant’s commissioning plan.
Learn more and download document samples of the revised AIA Scope documents.

Download Revised AIA Document Samples

*The 2017 revised Architect Scope documents will be available to purchase in mid-October.
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