Selecting the Right Owner-Architect Agreement for a Commercial Project
In addition to the “flagship” contract known as B101, AIA offers several other owner-architect agreements that are critical to any commercial design project.
By Wolf Saar, FAIA, Managing Director VIA Architecture.
Choosing the right owner-architect agreement is critical to any commercial design project. This is because the agreement establishes a foundation for the contractual relationship between the owner and architect and communicates the expected design and other services that the architect will provide. Architects and owners can choose from several AIA owner-architect agreements, which suit various project delivery methods, sizes, and complexities. AIA agreements provide a time-proven and court-tested framework to discuss and negotiate key terms, including the architect’s scope of services and compensation. They are widely accepted and used in the construction industry, signifying a consensus of individuals and groups who represent the interests of architects, owners, and contractors.
The AIA Documents Committee develops AIA Contract Documents through a rigorous process that includes input from contractor organizations, owner groups, architects, legal and insurance counsel, and others involved in the construction process. AIA Contract Documents are periodically updated to reflect changes in the design and construction industry, as well as the law. As courts have tested the agreements over time, users may rely confidently on the meaning and interpretation of the contract terms. These agreements provide a solid framework for relationships among the owner, architect, contractor, and other project participants.
The “flagship” Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect is the B101, which assumes traditional design-bid-build construction procurement. As the construction industry and procurement of construction services have evolved, owners often choose to engage construction managers or similar consultants to provide specialized pre-construction services, such as cost estimating, scheduling, and constructability review. AIA Contract Documents have also been developed to address this shift in responsibility. In addition to B101, AIA offers several other owner-architect agreements. Commonly used owner-architect agreements for commercial projects and their distinguishing features include… click here to continue reading on AIA’s website.
This article was first published on AIA’s website. Wolf Saar, FAIA, is managing director at VIA Architecture and a member of AIA National’s Contract Documents Committee. All images credit: AIA.