Wow! What a mouthful!
Why couldn't they have named it something like, oh I don't know, maybe Fixed-Price Contract Between Owner and Contractor?
Not exactly ideal but it rolls off the tongue a lot easier than 'Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner/Contractor Where The Basis Of Payment Is a Stipulated Sum'...
Go ahead and see if you can say the above all in just one breath - and not a massive breath either. ;o)
But then that's the stuffed shirts at the AIA® for ya I guess…
Anyhow back to business…
The A101™ form is basically a 'fixed-price' contract between the owner and the contractor but it has a sneaky little surprise…
Within the A101 document is a reference to the AIA Form A201™ General Conditions of the Contract for Construction.
So if you use the A101 then you're automatically roped into purchasing and using another of their forms (the A201). Surprise!!
It might sound like not a big deal - until you find out how much each form costs for ONE usage (keep reading for more info on that)!
There was a time when the AIA contracts were considered 'the gold standard'. They were the best contracts that could be had without the expense of an attorney.
Unfortunately though the prices on these documents are astronomical - almost like the AIA thinks its forms aren't just the gold standard but that they're actually made of gold!
When you use the A101 and the A201 you'll be paying at minimum $25 for EACH form (with each only allowed to be used once).
You're paying $50 for every contractor/owner contract you need on a project (3 projects would equal $150 - PLUS the cost of the subcontractor contracts you'll need) and those contracts aren't really designed to keep *your* company in mind.
How can they when they're boiler plate?
The cost of AIA documents adds up quick:
And if you choose to use photocopies beware that there's a line of red text at the bottom of the document that warns the user and recipient that if the text isn't red then the document isn't original and could be out-of-date.
It's a way for the AIA to ensure that you purchase new forms every time you need one; they know that the red text isn't something you want to put in front of your customers or your subs.
According to the AIA head honchos the two documents (A101 and A201) together will usually be 'suitable for large or complex projects'.
It (the AIA) has several different contracts (a few being):
But really - how can boiler-plate contracts be "sufficient" or "good enough" for any contractor or any project?
I'm pretty sure that you don't do the exact same type of work that your contractor buddies do, or at least some of them.
I'm also pretty sure (rather presumptuous I am at times) ;o) that it's rather obvious to you, an informed contractor, that there are waaaaay more project sizes than the AIA could ever account for with contracts.
The only way that boiler-plate contracts will ever be truly suitable 'for most projects' is when contractors all start doing the exact same work and all the construction projects are exactly the same.
… like that's gonna happen …
Below is a list of pretty much the only options available to have a contract drawn up…
Pay $25/$30/$35 and up to whichever vendor you choose and get what's basically a generic one-time-use AIA contract that:
And I haven't even yet taken into account all the contracts that you have to purchase for each sub on the job!
If you choose to use AIA forms please hire an attorney to review them before using them to make sure they'll work for your situation.
Sure it's great that the forms are digital but you still have the following issues with them:
And once again I haven't even touched on the many copies of the boiler-plate subcontractor contract you'll need.
And as mentioned previously if you choose to use AIA forms please hire an attorney to review them before using them to make sure they'll work for your situation.
You could hire an attorney and pay him/her hundreds of dollars to draft a basically generic hard-copy/digital-copy contract for you.
You'd pay probably about the same as 5 to 10 AIA documents would cost you - but after those 5 to 10 uses you'd have to spend more money to get more AIA documents.
When using a contract that an attorney draws up for you it would be reusable an unlimited number of times (presumably) and would most likely be in Microsoft Word format.
Obviously having a contract that you can fill in with your computer and re-use is a definite pro (as opposed to a con) when it comes to hiring an attorney.
But a huge con (as opposed to a pro) ;) is that your contract is still technically a generic contract.
Sure it's written for your company but how can it possibly take into account every project that you'll ever do?
And how can it possibly take into account every type of trade you'll ever need, and every subcontractor you'll ever hire?
And if you need it revised then chances are you'll have to pay him/her for those revisions.
More and more money…
This is the best contract creating program that you might not yet have heard about.
It's not only the best program to use, it's also the least expensive. Within 1 to 3 projects (depending on how many subs you have on each project) this program will have paid for itself.
When using this program (which comes with a free trial by the way) you can/will:
Before you spend any money on the AIA contract documents please check out the Construction Contract Writer.
It does everything I listed above plus SO much more.
And at $149.95 for a full 3 years and then just $25 to renew for additional years, it's just plain crazy to go with AIA contracts if you don't have to.
You'll be able to download it once you're done purchasing it, with the option of adding a backup disc - pay $14.95 for the backup CD and they'll ship it to you for free (should you wish them to).