AIA Contract Documents Changing the Game for SKL Architects

About SKL Architects

SKL Architects is a tightly knit and collaborative group of architects and designers specializing in the careful crafting of buildings and spaces for community and residential use. SKL blends physical beauty and architectural design with the less tangible beauty of environmental and social responsibility.

“Moving to AIA Contracts has been a true game-changer for our business and using them has helped our business grow exponentially.”–


America Fiol-Serra has worked with contracts for nearly two decades; in that time, she’s seen and done it all, including construction contracts. When she agreed to join SKL Architects and become their Contracts Manager, she thought all construction contracts were the same. But she saw something different during a chance encounter with AIA Contracts Documents. What she saw changed how Fiol-Serra thought about these documents and how SKL Architects does business.

The first thing she noticed was how thorough and well-written the documents were. With that, her mind began racing, and Fiol-Serra immediately recognized their potential impact on her organization. From there, she wasted no time getting in front of management. “When I initially approached senior leadership about moving to AIA, they were hesitant, but after some prodding, they relented. They saw the value of AIA within a few short months of making the switch. To the delight of many, inside and outside our organization, we haven’t looked back.”

A Whole New World

Operations improved, as did their relationships with contractors and consultants, especially regarding payments. For these groups, on-time payments are the lifelines of their business. Delays can be disastrous, causing what, on the surface, were simple challenges to spiral out of control and have lingering financial ramifications.

To avoid situations like these, SKL Architects rely on two AIA documents: G702 and G703. G702 is AIA’s Application and Certificate for Payment, and G703 is the Continuation Sheet. Together, they provide convenient and complete forms for the contractor to apply for payment. They also allow the architect to certify payment is due. “We use G702 and G703 quite frequently, and since becoming ACD users, these documents have become staples in our projects.”

“AIA has had a dramatic impact on our overall efficiency levels and frees us up to focus on other areas of our business.”

A Roadmap to Success

Contracts can be cumbersome. Confusion over what language to use, where, when, and to whom it should apply can cause a project to stagnate. America saw this firsthand when she used other contracts. But her experience with AIA has been like night and day. “The way AIA indexes the contracts makes finding what you’re looking for easy. As each document is summarized, there’s no guesswork ensuring you choose the right product for the job.”

When a consultant or contractor sees an AIA document, there’s a palpable sense of relief. “They’re relieved because they know what they’re getting, and there’s uniformity in these contracts. There’s also an increased level of trust because, in most cases, they’re using AIA as well. This means we’re speaking the same language, and that’s a win for everyone.”

“Regarding this industry, AIA contracts are the most thorough I've ever seen.”

Flexible and Easy to Use

When Fiol-Serra approached management about switching to AIA, flexibility and ease of use were two of her key selling points. AIA products are straightforward without the steep learning curve that can stifle productivity and delay progress. Directions are easy to follow and intuitive, and the solution easily integrates into any environment.

The way I can go in, build a profile, and see the contracts we’ve used in the past is beneficial. It gives everyone involved in the project a level of trust and makes me feel protected. Exhibits, signed documents, revisions, appendices, and everything associated with the project living in one central location. The peace that comes from knowing this is invaluable.”

A Better Today, a Better Tomorrow

Through AIA, SKL Architects has unleashed another layer of its brand and built better relationships in the process. “There’s a calmness in our contractors and consultants. They’re relieved because they know when a document from AIA is being used, everyone, no matter what your assignment, can focus on being their best for the project and one another.” Helping brands reach their full potential is one of the many benefits of using documents created by a trained legal professional. As SKL Architects continues evolving, AIA will be there helping them change the game, one project at a time.