AIA Contract Documents Help TAGGART/Architects Bring it All Together
TAGGART/Architects entered the market in 1974 and quickly developed a reputation for creating high-quality, functionally efficient designs that meet the end-user’s needs. Listening, interpreting, and executing have always been at the core of their operations model, allowing the firm to yield innovative results consistently. With a broad base of clients and a footprint that can be seen in 29 states, their service offerings include architectural and interior design, master planning, and construction administration, driven by a combined 275 years of plausible experience.
Nearly five decades ago, TAGGART/Architects entered the market armed with an arsenal of talents capable of flexing in several different designs and architectural directions. A span of this length points to a firm that understands how to manage the ebbs and flows every business goes through. More importantly, it points to their ability to hear what the customer needs and delivers, time and time again.
Strong leadership has always been part of their success, and as the leaders reviewed their model, one area was lacking: contracts. “Our process called for us to review prior contracts and cobble a new one together that best fits the needs of the current project,” said Billy Mathis, Administrative Assistant for Architecture at TAGGART/Architects. “We realized that the pace of our growth mandated that we get out of that cycle and adopt a structured contract approach.”
He stepped out on faith and began following his passion. Like most startups during the early days, the company was long on ambition but short on resources. These limitations meant contracts were crude and opportunities were small. “When we first started, Excel spreadsheets, the backs of napkins, and handshakes were our contracts, but I knew those would only get us so far. Sure, I was a trained attorney, but I couldn’t build contracts and a business at the same time. As soon as we had sufficient cash flows, we partnered with AIA and haven’t looked back,” said Moran.
A construction worksite is hands down one of the most challenging work environments to navigate. To an outsider looking in, it’s maddening and nothing short of pure chaos with machines, people, paper, dirt, and debris moving every which way and in other ways that same outsider couldn’t even begin to fathom. That’s to be expected, but when the people on the inside have this same view, something has to change. “With ACD in place, any shred of chaos or confusion, things you can’t afford to have on a construction site, disappeared. Any misunderstanding surrounding the scope of work was removed, and any ambiguity regarding the specificity of roles became clear.”
Change orders are one of the riskiest parts of a construction project and their ramifications are typically broad and wide. When a change order occurs, the cost of a project increases along with the time to completion. Projects also become more complex when a change order enters the mix and users can almost always expect some sort of conflict and disruption in performance. “We recognize that change orders are part of the business we’re in. Our goal was to decrease the volume we were seeing across our projects. We’ve achieved this through ACD as their documents provide clarity on the scope of work, drastically reducing change order usage rates.”
A Tale of Two Contracts
The ACD portfolio consists of several projects, each with a clear value proposition and usage. But when it comes to TAGGART/Architects and their ACD experience, two contracts stand apart: A101 and B101. The A101 is a standard form of agreement between the owner and the contractor for use where the basis of payment is a stipulated sum or a fixed price.
The B101 is a one-part standard form of agreement between the owner and the architect. This document is for building design and construction contract administration, and services are categorized as basic, supplemental, or additional. “We’re very comfortable with both of these documents, and they mesh extremely well with our business and the types of projects we typically pursue.”
Bringing it All Together
TAGGART/Architects have been a mainstay in the industry for close to five decades, and the last two have been spent working with contracts from ACD. The firm’s stellar suite of services, coupled with the unquestioned industry standard, has proven to be a winning combination. “Everyone knows what to expect from ACD. That’s important when it comes to construction because the less there is to worry about, the more you can focus on the project. When we can do this, some really good things, and some incredible designs, happen.”