What Type of Facility Maintenance Contract is Right for You?

By AIA Contract Documents

December 7, 2022

Contracts for facilities maintenance are designed to address the business conditions and legal environment of building repair, maintenance, or improvement. When you are considering your next facilities maintenance project, consider what type of work will be performed, the method of contracting that is right for you, and any other supporting documents you might need to adequately support the project you wish to complete.

Maintenance Work Types

Facilities maintenance work involves two distinct types of maintenance work: 1) as needed services; 2) and ongoing services.

  • As-Needed Services. Agreements for as-needed services will generally include work associated with discrete building repair or simple building improvements (e.g., roof repairs, façade painting, parking lot striping, HVAC repairs, small building projects).
  • Ongoing Services. Agreements for ongoing services will generally include work associated with repetitive maintenance needs regularly performed as part of a building’s upkeep (e.g., HVAC maintenance, cleaning services, lawn care, and snow removal).

Contracting Methods

There are two distinct ways to contract facilities maintenance work: 1) a master agreement; and 2) a stand-alone agreement.

  • Master Agreement Method. A master agreement is intended for use when the scope of the maintenance work will subsequently be defined through one or more work orders. This contracting method allows for multiple scopes of maintenance work to be issued quickly to a contractor without renegotiating the underlying terms and conditions of the master agreement. Master agreements may be used where a contractor performs services on several different properties, or where a contractor’s services will be phased according to location or a completion schedule.

The master agreement will contain common terms and conditions that will be applicable to each work order. These common terms include the general roles and responsibilities of the parties, how payments will be made, general insurance terms, and termination.

  • Work Orders. The master agreement would be used with either a work order for as needed or ongoing maintenance work. Each work order will provide information about the scope of work, schedule, compensation, and any special considerations associated with the work, such as payment terms or insurance requirements that are different from the master agreement.

Together, the use of the master agreement and a work order creates a complete contract that includes the terms and scope of the maintenance work and requires the contractor to perform the maintenance work.

  • Stand-Alone Agreement Method. A stand-alone agreements agreement can be written for as needed or ongoing services and would include the terms and scope of the maintenance work in one form. Unlike the master agreement method mentioned above, a separate work order is not needed in the stand-alone agreements. Stand-alone agreements are used when the contractor will not have reoccurring work with the client.

Supporting Documents

As you consider what type of work you want to complete, the contracting method you would like to use, it’s a good idea to consider what supporting documents you may want or need during the performance of the work such as change order forms, invoice templates, certificates of insurance request forms, or a status report for the maintenance work.

Finding the right contract for your facilities maintenance work may vary from job to job and contractor to contractor. Careful planning in advance of your next project will help you be well on your way to success.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.