In the California construction industry, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise. It is important for stakeholders to be aware of changes that the American Institute of Architects has issued to the A201 general conditions document that is used in the industry for dispute resolution procedures.
The AIA issues revisions once every decade to its documents. In section 15.1.1 of the A201 document, contract time change requests are now included under claims. This means that they are subject to the same timing and notice requirements of other types of claims.
Owners are also not required to make liquidated damages claims, which could present a problem for contractors. Requests for extensions of time are normally considered to be the best defense against liquidated damages claims, and contractors normally respond to such claims by filing requests for more time. If there are no filed liquidated damages claims, the contractors may run out of time to file their requests for extensions of contract time and lose their defenses to the claims. Contractors who will need more time should proactively file claims for extensions even if no claims for liquidated damages have been filed.
Because of delays and other issues, contract disputes may arise. Stakeholders might want to secure representation from experienced business and commercial law attorneys to understand the new revisions to the AIA forms as well as how they might best protect their contractual interests. The attorneys may advise their clients about their contracts and may negotiate individual provisions contained within them so that their clients are protected. If a dispute arises, the attorneys may try to resolve them through dispute resolution procedures according to the contracts.