AIA Document A201 Signing

I have a question regarding the AIA Document A201. It was said in the lectures that this document can be changed per project with additions and/or omissions. However, this document is not signed, so how do you trace back to the edited (latest) document for this project vs a standard A201? How do we make sure it is not manipulated at some point since it is not signed?

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Hi @sabreen.masharkah & welcome to The Community!
Let’s get one of our experts to answer this for you!

@coachglennparks do you mind answering this question?

The A201 General Conditions document is part of an offer to engage in a contract. It is not binding until it is accepted by the owner and the general contractor. Terms are negotiated and may be changed if both parties accept the changes. Often, an owner will include an A201 in the bidding documents to inform bidders of the nature of the contract they are seeking to make. So, it is important for both parties to review a standard A201 for its applicability to a specific project contract. Signed contracts are more legally binding than standard indications of intent.

Hi Coach Glenn,

Thank you for your help! My question is how do we confirm it is accepted by the owner and general contractor since it is not signed? How do we find the latest A201 that had been accepted by both in the case of a dispute resolution?

Thank you!

Hi Sabreen,

I hope I’m understanding your question fully. If you can reference where you came across this question, I could possibly better review the context of how your question arose. Owner Conditions included in an ‘offer’ are the Owner’s list of promises that they want to the other party to keep. If the other party (contractor) accepts the offer by signing a contract, they have formally agreed to intend to honor and keep those promises. If they state in the contract that certain conditions are excepted (taken out), the Owner must agree that that certain conditions are to be removed. Following the negotiation of what’s in and what’s out, the final version that contains all that can be agreed to by both parties is formalized by signatures.

In my experience, the architect may assist the owner with setting and developing the terms of the general conditions, but does not have responsibility for verifying that previous unsigned documents have been accepted by the parties. Additions" and “omission” are commonly made to general conditions, but they don’t apply until the contract is executed. In dispute resolution, what counts is the signed contract. "

A contract between the Owner and the General Contractor is binding when it has been “executed,” meaning signed, sealed, and witnessed. The ‘executed contract’ typically ‘adopts by reference’ the drawings, specifications, and other written information referenced in the A201.

In a dispute resolution, when the Architect is acting as Initial Decision Maker, he/she will review the claims in accordance only with the Executed Contract. If there is no executed contract, the parties have not established ‘the ground rules’ for their business.

Are you conceiving a situation where the Architect is acting as an IDM in a dispute resolution prior to a contract being executed? If this is the case, the Architect would not have the role of an IDM since the two parties had not formally agreed to the A201 stipulation that the Architect is the IDM. (It could be agreed that another party is an IDM). Here’s a link: https://help.aiacontracts.org/summary-a201-2007/ that may be useful.

-CoachGlenn

I came across this question while listening to the Black Spectacles Lectures regarding the document A201: General Conditions of the Contract for Construction. While explaining it, the presenter states:

It’s a contract, but it’s not a signed contract and that’s because it’s incorporated by reference into all of the other contracts, so it’s mentioned in all the other contracts.

So I am wondering, since it is altered for each project, how do we track the latest agreed-upon version of the A201, since it is not signed. For example; say there’s a dispute between the owner and the architect regarding something that they altered and agreed on for the project in A201, say the owner and architect are each referencing different altered versions at the dispute resolution, how do we know which one is the right document since none of them is signed and dated.

Please let me know if this makes sense.
Thank you!

Hi @sabreen.masharkah could you let us know which video lecture you are referring to?

Hi Monica,

I am referring to the video lecture titled “A201 Table of Articles” in “Objective 3.2: Analyze Applicability of Contract Types and Delivery Methods.”

Thank you!

Hi Sabreen,
As followup, I reviewed the lecture you referenced. The owner and contractor are parties to signing the A101. For example, the AIA A101®–2017 is a standard form of agreement between owner and contractor for use where the basis of payment is a stipulated sum or fixed price. A101 adopts by reference, and is designed for use with, AIA Document A201®–2017, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction. Each party may add or delete (essentially modify) portions of the A201 by mutual consent. Your initial question was 'how do we track the latest agreed upon version of the A201, since it is not signed." Thought “it” is not signed, the A101 that adopts by reference the A201 is the basis for the architect to reference in resolving a dispute. There should be only one.

I’m sorry, but I don’t find in the lecture or your example the basis for multiple A201s (multiple versions of general conditions). That would be messy! In principle, the executed contract adopts by reference all the various ‘complementary’ parts. Having multiple versions of General Conditions, I imagine, is not typical or desirable.

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Hi coach Glenn,

By “multiple versions of general conditions/A201” I’m talking about edited versions that may be revised during the process in the same way the contract is revised. So I’m thinking: If the contract can be revised and re-signed, how does that happen for the General Conditions document? Does A201 ever get revised/edited during the design process? How do we know if the latest revised A201 document is the one we are referencing in a dispute if it is not signed and dated. So in summary: Multiple versions = edited/amended contracts so there is a previous version and a new version and not multiple versions that exist at the same time. Please let me know if you need more clarification.

Thank you so much for your time and effort in explaining this.

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Hi Sabreen,
Congratulations to you for really thinking about this particular question. I hope you might be satisfied with my simple answer. When a contract is signed and other documents are ‘adopted by reference’ a copy of all documents adopted by reference are typically included in the contract. Those included, whether edited, revised, or copied from previous original GC’s stand as the documents of the contract at time of execution. That’s how each party knows what is to be referenced during the period of the contract. This is the principle of a contract.
-CoachGlenn

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Thank you so much! That makes sense.

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