AIA Advertisement— “Are You Wasting Time Drafting?”

“Are You Wasting Time Drafting?” is the headline of an advertisement that the American Institute of Architects placed in the December 2006 issue of the ABA Journal.

This ad touts the benefits of the AIA’s Contract Documents software, which was updated in November 2006. Contract Documents is a comprehensive Microsoft Word-based document-assembly program for preparing contracts for construction projects.

The AIA’s web site has lots of information about Contract Documents. In particular, you might want to check out the demo. (To run it, you might need to turn off your pop-up blocker.) This is how the AIA’s web site describes this product:

Using the new AIA Contract Documents software, you can edit documents with greater ease and effectiveness using the Microsoft Word platform, complete documents quickly via dialog boxes that incorporate project and document-specific information automatically into the document, and create clean or comparative drafts with or without strike-throughs and underlines.

. . .

AIA Contract Documents comprise over 100 forms and contracts that define relationships and terms involved in design and construction projects. Prepared by the AIA with the consensus of owners, contractors, attorneys, architects, engineers, and others, the documents have been finely tuned during their 115 year history. As a result, these comprehensive contracts and forms are now widely recognized as the industry standard.

Until such time as I have occasion to work with construction contracts, I won’t need to use Contract Documents. And I haven’t been bowled over by what I’ve seen of the language used in Contract Documents. But that’s neither here nor there: what’s most significant about the AIA’s continued investment in, and marketing of, Contract Documents is that it’s another indication of interest in document assembly as the best way to put contract drafting on a rational footing. (Click here for my previous post on document assembly.)

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.

4 thoughts on “AIA Advertisement— “Are You Wasting Time Drafting?””

  1. Note the proud statement of the ‘115 year history’ of those documents.

    I worked with some construction types in the past, and EVERYBODY used the AIA documents. So, they’ve reached a point where you simply can’t close a deal unless you accede to those forms, just as you pretty much are stuck with ACCORDE documents for typical CGL insurance policies.

    I don’t know that we can attribute much to all of that other than Newton’s first law of motion.

  2. Michael: To my mind, what’s significant about AIA Contract Documents software isn’t simply AIA’s prominence, but rather that they’ve chosen to use sophisticated document-assembly software to facilitate use of their documents. You could see AIA as being unique in this regard, but I see them as being a harbinger of broader use of document assembly. Ken


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