Q: Why do you keep recommending the AIA 201 contract in lieu of purchase orders or letters of acceptance of our proposals?
A: For a couple reasons. First, when AIA created the agreement, it was intentionally developed not to favor either the contractor or the owner. As an architectural association, they don’t represent either side in the contract, which makes this neutral and fair for both parties. The other reason is that the contract really addresses almost every issue regarding the transaction and the terms and conditions of the project. In a perfect world, the owner would simply sign your proposal along with a binding contract your attorney developed that protects you in every possible situation that could develop. But, that seldom happens. So, this document is the best alternative we’ve found and a is great way to prevent you from having to sign their contract. You can find these in NSCA’s Essentials of Systems Integration™ Online. Likewise, just having an owner give you a purchase order to commence work can often lead to billing/payment disputes, unclear resolutions to problems, etc. –CW