The contract documents published by the American Institute of Architects are the most widely used private construction forms in the country. This prevalence is testimony to their comprehensive coverage of issues and balanced allocation of risk. There is another advantage to the AIA documents—they have been extensively interpreted by the courts thanks to decades of widespread use.
The first case in this issue involved a private project in which the construction financing was insured by HUD. The parties used a mandated HUD construction contract and the AIA General Conditions. The problem was that the two documents had conflicting provisions regarding release of the contract retainage.
The second case interpreted the progress payment provisions of the AIA contract documents. Were the monthly payments “partial payments” under a single construction contract or were they “installment payments,” each triggering a separate claim limitation period?
The third case in this issue involved a federal construction project. The agency’s specifications appeared to call for certain proprietary products. But perhaps the intent was to allow the use of “equal” products. If so, the agency had conducted a flawed version of a “brand name or equal” procurement.