Such a service, which incorrectly characterizes document B141 as an additional service, is the analysis of the owner`s planning needs for the project. Such an analysis is essential to ensure that the architect`s design meets the needs of the owner. Many other design tasks, traditionally considered basic services, have been shifted to the detriment of the owner. Everyone must be checked by an owner to ensure that the owner`s expectations are reflected in the final design of the project. When a real estate owner retains an architect or contractor to carry out work on his or her property, the owner is often subject to a “standard” form agreement developed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This is usually accompanied by the assurance that the “independently developed” agreement is known, widespread and takes due account of the interests of both parties. It is understandable that this seems attractive to many owners who wish to launch their projects as quickly as possible, and the agreement will finally be signed after a brief review without revision. However, on closer inspection, homeowners will find that they are at a significant disadvantage under the standard agreement. So what can an owner do to ensure that their interests are properly protected? When an AIA form is submitted to an owner and decides to use it, these forms must be amended to create a level playing field. A better solution, however, is for an owner to use his or her own manuscript contract. Manuscript agreements allow owners to avoid rising negotiations and can be tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of the owner. Anderson Kill – Olick has lawyers with extensive experience in AIA construction contracts and manuscripts. AIA agreements are not as impartial and balanced as they may seem.
First, the AIA is an organization that, according to its website, represents “the professional interests of American architects” and formal agreements reflect such interests. In addition, the aIA form agreements have been subject to numerous revisions since the introduction of the first forms, and each revision has shifted the balance of owners to architects and contractors. This ongoing change is partly due to the fact that the Association of General Contractors is working with the AIA to develop multi-type agreements. As expected, this has resulted in formal agreements that tend to favour the architect and contractor over the owner, as the following two examples will show.