The American Institute of Architects Unveils New and Updated AIA Contract Documents at the 2013 AIA National Convention
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The American Institute of Architects Unveils New and Updated AIA Contract Documents at the 2013 AIA National Convention

Washington, D.C. – June 20, 2013 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Contract Documents team announced today several additions and updates to its suite of offerings: a brand new family of Program Management documents; a new, free Guide for Small Projects; an updated Guide for Sustainable Projects; and updated BIM and Digital Practice Documents. The new documents and updates will improve the contract negotiation experience for architects, building owners, general contractors and other design and construction professionals.

The new documents and guides are available in the latest version of AIA Contract Documents software, which is now compatible with Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 8.

“We are very pleased with the new offerings and updates, as they truly will assist owners, design professionals and contractors in the process of contract negotiation, and project collaboration and integration,” said Ken Cobleigh, Managing Director and Counsel at the AIA. “We worked with a wide variety of industry professionals– including architects, contractors, lawyers and insurance professionals on these new documents. As a result, they are fair and balanced, and help appropriately manage risk throughout the design and construction process.”

New Document Family for the Program Manager

The role of the program manager is one that has grown in the last decade as owners hire representatives to act as the coordinators of the design process for multiple projects, in order to ensure consistency. This has been an especially popular trend in institutional design, in which several buildings (such as those within healthcare or educational facilities) usually need to be upgraded simultaneously and share similar design elements.

Using the input of industry liaisons, the AIA Contract Documents Committee developed a family of documents so that program managers, as well as design managers, can oversee projects in a more systematic fashion.

The documents in this new family include:

Free samples of the Program Management documents can be found at

Updated Digital Practice Documents and New Digital Practice Documents Guide

In any project or collaboration – particularly those involving new technologies like BIM – it’s critical that all participants understand roles and responsibilities. The updated AIA BIM and Digital Practice Documents establish expectations around, and the process for, the use of digital data, including building information modeling, on a project.

Rachel Riopel Wiley, AIA NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, the Central Region BIM Director at HDR Architecture, Inc. was involved in reviewing the BIM and Digital Practice Documents when they were made available for public comment in August 2012. She is among the first architects to put these documents to use in a real-world setting, recently in a multiple facilities project, including housing research facilities, outpatient treatment center, and a new hospital tower – totaling 575,000 square feet. HDR Architecture, Inc. has applied the new BIM and Digital Practice Documents to address issues related to integration and liability between owner and architect upon the introduction of building information modeling. Specifically she says, “The AIA BIM and Digital Practice documents help by highlighting the pieces of a project that should be addressed early in the design process which can often cause unnecessary stress later, such as fee terms and scheduling. Because the forms can be customized and tailored, it provides flexible guidance which allows for all parties to come to terms that can be agreed upon from the very beginning. The ability to clarify the expectations affords all parties greater protection than was previously available.”

The updated documents and free guide include:

Free Samples of the BIM and Digital Practice documents and new Digital Practice Documents guide can be found at

New Free Guide for Small Projects

Designed to help small firms and small project practitioners gain awareness of the documents and resources available for their particular needs, the new Guide for Small Projects is the result of several months of collaborative work and is expected to serve as an important asset to anyone who works on small projects.

The guide is the result of a collaborative effort among representatives from several AIA Knowledge Communities, including the Small Firm Roundtable, Small Project Practitioners, and the Custom Residential Architects Network who worked closely with the AIA Contract Documents team to help ensure the material was relevant to their practices. The outcome of this collaborative work is a reference guide that allows busy practitioners working on small projects – where time equals money – a way to easily find a comprehensive list of AIA Contract Document resources to help them in their practice.

The new guide is:

The free Small Projects Guide can be found at

Updated Guide for Sustainable Projects

The updated Guide for Sustainable Projects, AIA Document D503™-2013, is a follow up to the AIA Contract Document’s popular Guide for Sustainable Projects introduced in 2011and the five Sustainable Projects (SP) documents launched in May 2012.

The new version of the guide includes the following updates:

The information included in this guide can assist participants in sustainable projects with ensuring that their contractual agreements don’t unnecessarily expand the risk for any one party involved in a project, and that the terms are fair when it comes to compensation, roles, and responsibilities.

Al Rabasca, Director of Industry Relations at XL Group’s Design Professional unit and an AIA Insurance Adviser who was involved in updating the Guide for Sustainable Projects, comments that, “These new updates should be of particular help to small and medium-sized firms, which often need help with questions on managing expectations, the applicable standard of care, and other topics that now arise when discussing issues pertaining to sustainability. We were happy to provide them documents that can help aid these conversations.”

The updated guide is:

The free Guide for Sustainable Projects can be found at

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


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