The bad news is that there is no perfect process, chiseled in stone and kept in a vault for eyes-only access, of designing, bidding, and constructing a building. Period. Every building project is different, which is why anyone initiating a building project needs the knowledge and experience that a licensed architect brings to the table. But is the building owner at the mercy of the limited experience of that one architect who acts as his agent?
The good news is that the American Institute of Architects has worked with building owners and general contractors nationwide to produce a document called A201 - General Conditions of the Contract for Construction. It was first produced in 1911 as a revision to the highly successful Uniform Contract published in 1888.1 It has been revised approximately every ten years since then.
On the surface, it might seem like one more stack of paper, filled with legalese, meant to keep lawyers in business. Practically, however, it provides the construction industry - and the unsuspecting owners who walk into it - with clearly defined standards for how the owner, the architect, and the contractor are to cooperate in the common pursuit of that functional and beautiful building. It contains time-tested guidelines for...
- ...how to divide responsibility in the most sensible and equitable way possible.
- ...what to do if something goes wrong, whether someone is at fault or not.
- ...how to protect the financial interests of everyone involved.
"Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight."2..."How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver."3
- Solomon, ancient king of Israel and experienced building owner
Did you know:Architects are licensed in the state in which they practice. State law requires that drawings and specifications be prepared and sealed by a licensed architect for most new construction and renovation. In other words, state law recognizes how important architects are!
(1) The American Institute of Architects. Official Guide to the 2007 AIA Contract Documents. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2009; pp. 21-32.
(2) Proverbs 4:7b ESV
(3) Proverbs 16:16 ESV