September 07, 2017

Book Review – A201 Deskbook

Amanda Schermer MacVey

In April 2017, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the 2017 editions of the A201 family of contract documents.  This release includes updated versions of the AIA’s flagship documents, developed for the design-bid-build delivery model. Working with architects, contractors, subcontractors, owners, and construction lawyers, the AIA Documents Committee engaged in a comprehensive and collaborative review process to update this core set of documents to ensure that the AIA Contract Documents reflect current industry standards.  As one of the most widely used industry leading contract forms, the AIA agreements influence how clients and the courts view risk allocation and assign legal and commercial responsibility among the project participants in a construction project. Due to the importance of these changes to the industry, the ABA Forum on Construction’s October 2017 Fall Meeting in Boston in will focus on these changes and a new Forum publication — the A201 Deskbook — will be available for purchase in time for the 2017 Fall Meeting.

This publication is an essential addition to the library of all construction lawyers because all practitioners need to understand how these documents differ from past versions in order to advise client regarding the use and implications of these changes as well as effectively negotiate modifications whether proposed by clients or adversaries. The A201 Deskbook not only analyzes the changes from the 2007 to 2017 versions of the A201, but also serves as a single comprehensive reference point for court interpretation, legal analysis, business implications, and practice tips for all provisions of the A201. This book delivers a section-by-section analysis of how courts and commentators around the country have interpreted the A201 over the years and provides a current state of the law on the most significant A201 sections. The book does not take sides favoring the owner, contractor, or architect. Instead the book identifies the changes in the 2017 edition of the A201 and analyzes how the A201’s individual sections have been interpreted by courts and/or modified by project participants over the years. This book should become an important reference as the first place you will look when negotiating or litigating a disputed term in the A201 and an effective teaching and research tool.

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Amanda Schermer MacVey

Schiff Hardin LLP, Washington, DC, Division 3 (Design) and Division 12 (Owners & Project Finance)