AIA and ConsensusDOCS Construction Contract Documents - The Contest Continues

Association of Construction & Development
October 18, 2013 — 1,689 views  

There are two document formats to be followed for contract documents. They are the AIA and ConsensusDOCS. Both these formats are quite popular and useful. Choosing the suitable format for a given situation depends on various factors. All these factors must be examined before making a decision on the choice of format.

Philosophy

The AIA format is known for its unevenness. On the other hand ConsensusDOCS documents are drafted by the consensus of owners and contractors. It infuses A/E into the risk matrix, which is totally avoided by the AIA format.

Rights of Owner

The AIA format restricts its use by the owner. On the other hand, the ConsensusDOCS format gives the owner the rights of use and ownership. The owner can purchase the copyright if he so desires. The owner can maintain, renovate or expand the project.

The ConsensusDOCS format allows for digital use and provides for third party administrator. On the other hand the AIA format leaves the owner to decide upon digital uses.

Study and Compare

In the case of the AIA format, the study and compare obligations of the contractors, extends to more than just the contract documents. Reporting obligation is not contingent upon discovery. This creates opportunities for disputes between the contractors.

In the case of the ConsensusDOCS format, it is the responsibility of the contractor to report in writing any errors, omissions or inconsistencies in the contract documents. The contractor is not liable for costs relating to A/E errors. The owner is entitled to price adjustments in case of errors.

Consequential Damages

In the AIA format, the consequential damages are mutually waivered.

On the other hand, in ConsensusDOCS format the mutual waiver of consequential damages is quite limited. The waiver does not include liquidated damages. The owner and contractor can mutually agree to exclude certain items from the mutual waiver of damages. The liquidated damages are optional.

Dispute Resolution

The notice of delay for dispute resolution is different for the two formats. In the case of AIA format, the notice of delay is 21 days. In the case of ConsensusDOCS format, the notice of delay is 14 days.

In the case of AIA format, the decision in dispute resolution is made by IDM, which can be appealed. In case of ConsensusDOCS format, the decision happens after mitigation by mediation and arbitration or binding dispute resolution.

Insurance

In the case of AIA format, the insurance is the contractor’s liability insurance on operations. The operations cover maintenance until expiration of the correction period.

In the case of ConsensusDOCS format, the insurance is the contractor’s insurance on operations. The operations cover maintenance until one year after the acceptance of work.

Means and Methods

In case of AIA documents, the owner is responsible for the means and methods.

In the case of ConsensusDOCS format, the contractor is responsible for the means and methods.

These were the differences between the two main formats in use for contracts, the AIA format and the ConsensusDOCS format. The owner and the contractor should select the right format after careful deliberation depending upon their needs.

Association of Construction & Development