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Initial Highlights of the 2017 Edition of AIA A-201

By on June 20, 2017 |

As you may be aware, the American Institute of Architects (“AIA”) revises its main contract forms every ten years and has recently released the 2017 Editions of their contract forms, including the AIA A201 – General Conditions of the Contract for Construction.  I’ve just finished an initial review of the new AIA A201 2017 Edition.  My initial impressions of the most notable changes include:

  • The most apparent major change in the AIA A201 – 2017 Edition is the total revision of Article 11 – Insurance.  The 2017 Edition streamlines the insurance article.  The AIA is now addressing the detailed description of required insurance coverages in new standalone insurance exhibits for each type of AIA contract (in other words, new exhibits for the A101, A102, A142, etc.).  So, while Article 11 in the A201 is much shorter, you’ll now have to deal with a new seven-page insurance exhibit.
  • The A201 now includes a new section 1.6 addressing contractually-required notices and how those notices must be delivered.  Any notice required by the Contract Documents must be in writing.  The A201 now allows most notices to be sent by e-mail, but all notices of claims under Article 15 must be sent by certified or registered mail, or by courier providing proof of delivery.
  • New section 1.8 was added to address the implementation of electronic protocols and BIM.
  • New section 2.2.4 was added to address the Owner’s confidential information.
  • Section 3.10.1 has been modified to require the Contractor to provide a more detailed construction schedule.
  • Section 6.1.1 now provides a formal definition of the Owner’s “Separate Contractor(s)” and small changes have been made in other provisions to implement the definition.
  • Several sections in Article 9 – Application for Payment add clarifications that the Owner may request releases and waivers of lien.
  • A new section 9.6.8 has been added to Article 9, requiring the Contractor to indemnify the Owner for subcontractor and supplier liens, including a requirement that the Contractor must bond off such liens.
  • In the 2007 edition, when the Owner terminated the Contractor for convenience, section 14.4.3 required the Owner to pay the Contractor reasonable overhead and profit on the “Work not Executed.”  It was my experience that Owners always deleted this requirement.  In the 2017 Edition, 14.4.3 replaces the payment of reasonable overhead and profit with the payment of a termination fee.  To coordinate and implement this change, the 2017 Edition of the AIA A101 now has a provision where you list the termination fee.
  • Under Section 15.2.1, the Initial Decision Maker is only involved in disputes before substantial completion.  This is a timely change as a recent decision by a United States District Court held that the AIA dispute resolution provisions did not apply to post-construction disputes after substantial completion.

Surprisingly enough, the 2017 Edition of the A201 pulled back on the architect’s authority in a few instances.  For example, A201 now allows direct communications between Owner and the Contractor under section 4.2.4, and reduces the architect’s total authority to make minor changes under section 7.4.  Also, little semantic changes have been made throughout, such as shortening “material and equipment suppliers” simply to “suppliers”.

The provisions listed above are only a few of the differences between the 2007 Edition and 2017 Edition of the A201.  There are many more changes, which will require further analysis.  I will be performing a much more in-depth analysis of the changes over the next few months and plan to provide more insights.  A chart providing a rough comparison of the provisions of the 2007 and 2017 Editions of the AIA A201 can be found here.

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