AIA publishes updated residential projects contracts and condo guide

The contract documents program of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released updated residential contracts for both single-family residential and multi-family residential or mixed-use projects. It also published an updated version of their Condominium Project Guide, which is available for free without a documents subscription.

Revised Residential Documents

The revised residential documents are B107-2020, Standard Form of Agreement Between Developer-Builder and Architect for Prototype(s) for a One or Two Single Family Residential Project with Limited Architectural Services, and B109-2020, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for a Multi-Family Residential or Mixed Use Residential Project.

For residential development, B107 incorporates language from B101-2017, Standard Owner-Architect Agreement. B107 is designed to allow a developer-builder to hire an architect to design prototype houses, the design of which can be repeatedly used by the developer-builder. The architect is expected to develop the design of each prototype to a level minimally required to achieve a building permit. The developer-builder is expected to be an entity that is knowledgeable about residential construction so that it can then take this “Permit Set” of drawings and complete the project. The document anticipates that the developer-builder will have extensive control over the management of the project—acting in a capacity similar to that of a developer or speculative builder of a housing project—and is an entity that has experience with applicable residential building codes, selection of materials and systems, and methods of installation and construction.

B109 is a standard agreement between owner and architect for building design and construction contract administration for a multi-family residential or mixed-use residential project. It contains terms and conditions that are unique to these types of projects. B109 is now based on AIA Document B103–2017, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for a Large or Complex Project, because of the additional protections built into B103. While B109 uses the traditional division of services into basic and additional, it adds a pre-design services article that includes items such as assessment of project feasibility, layout, and regulatory issues.

B109 is not intended for use on residential projects that will include a residential condo unless specifically set forth in the initial information; the contract language includes a representation by the owner that the project will not include a residential condo.

Revised Condo Guide

The Condominium Project Guide is available for free and provides supplementary conditions to B109. It includes a discussion of potential risks that may be inherent in residential condo construction with model language for inclusion in B109 to better allocate these risks. Architects using B109 for residential condo projects should review and consider the model language for provisions pertaining to the homeowners association, the individual unit owners, by-laws, and purchase agreements.

Because of the unique risks of condo design and construction and variations in specific legal requirements from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, standard form agreements typically require modifications to adapt them to individual projects. The modifications in the guide are intended to foster cooperation and mitigate risks for all parties involved on the condo project, but do not replace the need to have an attorney familiar with the state’s laws on condos and consumer protections carefully review the condo design contract.

AIA documents can be purchased with an unlimited-use annual license or as a single, customizable document. Documents are also available as single, non-editable documents and as paper versions through some AIA chapters. Visit the AIA contracts website for more information.

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