The American Institute of Architect’s (“AIA”) release of its 2017 documents has been a recent hot topic within the construction industry. In total, the AIA released approximately twenty-nine new forms and contracts in 2017, including AIA A101, A102, A103, and A201. Bradley’s BuildSmart Construction blog, found at https://www.buildsmartbradley.com/, contains a few articles discussing some significant changes in those documents.
In accordance with the AIA’s customary practice, the older version of the contract documents (e.g., the 2007 version) will expire within approximately 18 months after the release of the new version of the 2017 contract documents. Once an AIA document expires, the user will no longer have the ability, using the handy AIA software, to create a new document from the expired version, edit the expired version, or even finalize an expired version. The 2017 version of the AIA A101, A102, A103, A201, A401, and B101 contract documents were released in April 2017, so the 2007 version of these documents are set to expire on October 31, 2018. The AIA will not allow parties to finalize, using the AIA software and license, an expired 2007 document after October 31, 2018; instead, the parties will need to use the 2017 version of those documents or find alternate means of finalizing their contract. In other words, the AIA will force parties that desire to use the AIA software and license for an AIA document as their contract form to begin using the AIA’s new family of documents.
It is worth noting that AIA released some lesser used contracts and form documents in October 2017, including the AIA B201 (Design and Construction Contract Administration), B207 (Architect’s Services: On-Site Project Representation) and G704 (Certificate of Substantial Completion). These documents are not set to expire until May 31, 2019.
Regardless of whether a document being used is set to expire at the end of October 2018 or May 2019, contracting parties desiring to use an AIA document on the AIA platform are strongly encouraged to use the 2017 version of the AIA documents now or risk being precluded from finalizing their contract document if negotiations occur beyond the retirement date for the relevant 2007 document. If you have any questions about the recent AIA revisions or drafting a contract for your particular project, please do not hesitate to contact your lawyer or the AIA directly.