There are no shortage of different forms for agreements, proposals and contracts in the design and construction industry.
The base contracts of the design and construction industry are the contracts produced by the American Institute of Architects. These contracts have been in place for more than 120 years and they are the standard. They cover all of the relationships in the process not just those involving the Architect, a common example is the Owner/Contractor agreements.
The primary reasons for choosing an AIA contract is that the contracts are generally fair and balanced and they have been through legal proceedings enough that their definitions are well established. They aren’t very open for interpretation. The contract document software also has a feature that tracks changes so if you know the usual contract it is very easy to understand the changes. In addition the various agreements all tie together create a comprehensive set. What this means is that the obligations in the Owner/Architect agreement match up with the obligations in the Owner/Contractor agreement and the Architect/Consultant agreements.
The primary reasons that people choose to avoid AIA contracts tend to be complexity of the contract, scope that is very unique and attempts to produce contracts that are tilted towards one party.
At EVstudio we emply a variety of contracts. Where owners have their own contracts we will review them to verify that they are workable. When we propose on most smaller residential and commercial work we have a 4-5 page agreement that is much less intimidating than the 20+ pages in an AIA contract. We also enter into a number of different AIA contracts depending on scope and coordination with other agreements. We also suggest contract forms for owners to use with other parties. We’ve put together enough to guide you through your choices.