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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. To keep up with legal and practice developments, this year the AIA released its 2017 documents that included revisions to its owner-contractor agreements, architect scope documents, and the creation of a sustainability exhibit.

Insurance and Bonds Exhibit

To create a more expansive and flexible set of insurance requirements, the new Insurance and Bonds Exhibit distinguishes between required coverages and optional coverages. Required coverages for the contractor include commercial general liability coverage, auto liability coverage, workers’ compensation and employers’ liability coverage, and other coverages based on the type of project. Optional insurance coverages include railroad protective liability insurance; asbestos abatement liability insurance; and insurance for physical damage to property while in storage or transit.
While the substantive terms pertaining to insurance requirements between the owner and contractor are set forth in the Insurance and Bonds Exhibit, A201–2017 still includes key insurance-related terms that are applicable to virtually all projects.
Among the revisions to Article 11 of A201, is the removal of the requirement that the contractor provides certificates of insurance with an obligation on the part of the insurer to notify the owner of a pending lapse in insurance. Accordingly, A201–2017 now requires that the owner and contractor each provide the other with notice of an impending or actual cancellation or expiration of insurance coverage.
The new exhibit allows the parties to develop specific insurance requirements for any particular project. For basic insurance and bond coverage, the parties will insert claims and policy limits for certain basic coverages, and the penal sum for required bonds. However, the new exhibit also prompts the parties to consider additional insurance coverages that might be warranted, depending on the nature of the project and particular risks that might be encountered. The exhibit can be easily transmitted to each party’s insurance and bond advisor(s) or broker(s) for evaluation and completion. Additionally, all insurance and bonds obtained for the project are required to be purchased from companies lawfully authorized to issue insurance or surety bonds in the jurisdiction where the project is located.

AIA Scope Documents

The AIA’s C203-2017 commissioning scope now allows the commissioning agent to be involved in the early stages of 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 allow 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 on-site project representative’s authority to act on behalf of the architect. B207 also includes enhanced and clarified responsibilities for the on-site 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.

Sustainable Projects Exhibit

The E204–2017, Sustainable Projects Exhibit is not a stand-alone document but is intended to be attached as an exhibit to an existing agreement on a project that includes a Sustainable Objective. In a single document, E204-2017 sets forth the roles and responsibilities for each of the project participants. The exhibit is to be used on a wide variety of sustainable projects, including those in which the Sustainable Objective includes obtaining a Sustainability Certification, such as LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), or those in which the Sustainable Objective is based on incorporation of performance-based sustainable design or construction elements.
Rather than having to pick and choose between of a set of different Sustainable Project documents, any standard form can be amended with the exhibit to address a specific sustainable objective, certification or documentation.
Additionally, E204-2017 addresses several issues unique to sustainable design and construction such as:
  • Requirements for proposed materials or equipment substitutions
  • Requirements for construction waste management
  • Project registration with, and submissions to, the certifying authority
  • Waiver of consequential damages
  • The relationship between achievement of the sustainable objective and substantial and completion
E204-2017 brings the promise of simplified and coordinated sustainability requirements for design and construction contracts.
To learn more about all the 2017 document changes, please visit http://acdpages.aia.org/ConstructionExecutive-SponsoredContent-Architect-2017DocumentsRelease.html
Check out the 2017 document changes
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