AIA Contract Documents Help Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty Company, Build Strong Contractor Relationships

About Howard S. Wright, A Balfour Beatty Company

Howard S. Wright, a Balfour Beatty Company is committed to building structures and infrastructures that enhance the way people live, work, learn, and play in communities throughout the nation.

“Subcontractors are an important part of our business. Using AIA Contracts, we’ve been able to develop healthy sub relationships that help our business run smoothly”


When it comes to being a construction subcontractor, getting compensated timely can be the difference between building a flourishing business and simply surviving. In the world of subcontractors, payments equal working capital, and that gets re-invested back into the operation and used to bid on other opportunities, hire additional staff, and strategically market their businesses in a manner that fuels growth.

The subcontractor-contractor relationship is one borne and based purely on trust. If the contractor trusts the sub to perform optimally, additional work opportunities flow, and life becomes beautiful. But, as history shows us, trust is a two-way street, and this is especially true in construction. When a subcontractor loses trust in a contractor, the trail almost always leads back to a stalled or missed payment. “When our subs see that we use AIA Contract Documents, any concerns they may have had about being paid for their work falls by the wayside. With ACD in the mix, they know they’ll be paid. More than anything else, they know they’ll be paid on time.”

Ease of Use

Contracts often consist of dense, hard-to-navigate terrain, which can lead to confusion and frustration. In some cases, costly delays come into play as parties go back and forth, wanting to ensure their best interests are being served. Sometimes, the relationship can be repaired once the dust from the legal wrangling settles, other times, it can’t. Lourwood saw it all a time or two before arriving at Howard S. Wright over a decade ago. But it never happens when a contract from ACD is part of the construction equation. “Regarding the clients on our roster, there’s no uncertainty because ACD is the language, we all speak.”

Living documents are how contracts are categorized. From beginning to end and all points in between, they govern the life of a project. The scope of work that needs to be adhered to, payment schedules, clear definition of roles, and so many other facets are part of the build process. But the role of a contract doesn’t stop there; once the building portion is complete, a good contract continues carrying life, offering protection if a problem arises.

“Paying subcontractors on time and as promised is not only fair, but also, it’s good business, and ACD allows us to conduct … good business.”

The Joys of Going Digital

Just when she thought things with ACD couldn’t get any better, they did. The recent rollout of the new online version makes what was already an easy-to-use solution easier and far more efficient. “The online editing capabilities that are now available are simply amazing and have helped take our operations to another level. Now, I’m able to vet the version we have with the one the client has in a side-by-side scenario, saving me hours of work and drastically improving us from an efficiency standpoint.”

 Many of the projects Howard S. Wright is a part of are in the public works sector with school districts in and around the area. These projects aren’t always fluid, as variables outside the scope of their control often come into play. No worries, as the AIA Change Order, Form G701-2017, allowed the team to manage this process digitally, making what could’ve been an arduous task simple. “The ability to manage the change order process online helps us tremendously and keeps whichever customer we’re working with moving in the right direction.”

“The way products and solutions offered by ACD impacts the client/contractor/owner relationship is second to none.”

The Importance of Relationships

Owners, clients, contractors, and subcontractors all play critical roles in the life of a project. Apart from that, they’re formidable, but together, is where their true strength lies. Contracts like those offered by ACD are the catalysts that bring these disparate parts and silos of talent together. For over 33 years, ACD contracts have been the instruments that have brought Howard S Wright and their subcontractors together, and due to the trust they’ve fostered in one another, forged by contracts, genuine relationships that continue adding exponential value have formed.

Since opening the doors of KGD Architecture, Donaghy has forged many professional relationships while working on myriad projects, but he’s only used one contract provider. “We use ACD contracts right out of the box. This is important to note because, with the size and scope of the work we’re involved in, we need to show integrity, gain trust, and build and maintain project momentum. Any re-writing or manipulation of the contract can stifle those processes. With ACD, the re-writing and manipulation are never an issue, so we remain committed to these instruments being a part of our toolkit. They’ve helped us build relationships that drive our business, and mirror the ideals we were founded upon, all while positioning us for lasting success.”