One such service, which wrongly characterizes document B141 as an additional service, is the architect`s analysis of the owner`s programming needs for the project. Such an analysis is essential to ensure that the architect`s design meets the needs of the owner. Many other design tasks, traditionally considered basic services, have been recreated to the detriment of the owner. Each must be checked by an owner to ensure that the owner`s expectations are reflected in the final design of the project. When a property owner commissions an architect or contractor to perform work related to their property, the owner is often subject to a “standard” form agreement developed by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). This is usually accompanied by the assurance that the “independently developed” agreement will be known, widely disseminated and fairly relevant to the interests of both parties. It is understandable that this sounds attractive to many owners who want to launch their projects as quickly as possible and that the agreement will eventually be signed after a brief review without revision. However, on closer inspection, owners will find that they are at a significant disadvantage under the standard contract. Form AIA agreements are not as impartial and balanced as they may seem.
First, the AIA is an organization that, according to its website, represents “the professional interests of American architects” and the form agreements reflect such interests. In addition, since the introduction of the first forms, AIA form agreements have been subject to numerous revisions and any revisions have shifted the balance from owners to architects and contractors. This continued postponement is partly explained by the fact that the Association of General Contractors cooperates with the AIA in the preparation of several form agreements. As expected, this has resulted in formal agreements that tend to favour the architect and the contractor over the owner, as shown in the following two examples. So what can an owner do to ensure that their interests are properly protected? When an AIA form is submitted to an owner and chooses to use it, those forms must be amended in order to create a level playing field.. . . .