What Are AIA Contract Documents?

By AIA Contract Documents

March 18, 2022

Widely recognized as the industry standard, AIA Contract Documents comprise over 200 legal forms and agreements that define the relationships and terms involved in design and construction projects.  These documents make design and construction transactions more predictable and facilitate communications among all the parties involved, which makes it easier to produce a high quality project in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Prepared with the consensus of owners, contractors, attorneys, architects, engineers, and others, the documents have been finely tuned during their 134-year history.   Used by all industry professionals, including architects, contractors, owners, consultants, and attorneys, AIA Contract Documents are organized into two categories: by families based on types of projects or particular project delivery methods and by series based on the use of the document.

What makes AIA Documents the industry standard, besides their widespread use, is the volume of case history and precedent incorporated in the documents.  With each revision, the design, construction, and legal professions evaluate the new or revised language and adapt it as best practices for the industry.

Who Drafts AIA Contract Documents?

AIA Contract Documents are created by the AIA Documents Committee comprised of 35 dedicated men and women from diverse practices across the United States. Experts in the fields of design, construction, law, and insurance, Committee members work to draft and revise AIA Contract Documents over voluntary ten year terms.

How are AIA Contract Documents Drafted?

An iterative process of drafting, reviewing and revising the documents is done by the AIA Contract Documents Committee members with assistance from AIA Contract Documents legal counsel. The process begins with collecting and analyzing input from a wide array of sources.  Market research is done early to validate the issues and topics that are important to the industry.  We also work with industry stakeholders, AIA groups, liaisons and subject matter experts for added knowledge and feedback.

Are AIA Contract Documents Fair?

AIA Contract Documents have been drafted to represent each party’s interest equally and much of the contract language is about allocating risk to the party best able to manage and control that risk. The documents are created by incorporating feedback from practicing architects, contractors, engineers, owners, surety bond producers, insurers, and attorneys and reflect industry practices.

The provisions in the documents are fully customizable and can be edited by users. Changes made to AIA Contract Documents are easily distinguishable from the standard language in the final versions.

How Can I purchase AIA Contract Documents?

Users can purchase, edit and finalize AIA Contract Documents one at a time or purchase an annual license with continued access to our entire suite of documents.  To learn more, visit our Purchase page.

View a Live Demonstration of AIA Contract Documents software and see how you can easily create, share, edit and finalize documents making your contract process more efficient and cost-effective.