Watch for Hidden AIA Software Contract Changes
Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter June 1, 2005
More and more contract documents are being prepared with proprietary software programs created by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Associated General Contractors (AGC) and other trade associations. Unlike previous versions of the software that prominently set forth the revisions to the standard contract form, recent software allows changes to be made that may not be apparent to the casual reader of a "familiar" contract form. Now, "clean copies" of modified standard forms can be printed with only minor indications of where the form language has been changed – perhaps in a material way.
In addition, AIA and AGC allow substantial revisions to be made to these generally accepted forms without its identity as a standard form being removed, defeating the intent of "consensus" documents.
For example, many subcontractors encounter documents that purport to be the subcontractor-friendly AIA A-401, but the documents have been modified in a material way, making them hostile to subcontractor rights.
Those reviewing printed association forms, such as the AIA and AGC, unfortunately should no longer assume that they are unmodified. Instead, these documents should be read word by word and reviewed for any marks in the margin that hint that revisions have been made.