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I make extensive use of AIA Documents. We also use letter agreements for smaller projects. For the rest, I'm careful to modify the Owner/Architect Agreement to meet up with the situation. I've never had an owner object to those agreements-in 24 years as an architecture firm owner.
I am an attorney as well as an architect and I pay a 40% more in dues to the AIA than I do to the WSBA (Washington State Bar Association). I don't belong to the ABA but when I did the dues were considerably less. There are, however, far more attorneys than architects and I personally didn't see what the ABA provided on behalf of attorneys - which is why I am not a member even thought the dues are low.
I believe the dues I pay to the AIA are worth the cost. Simply the fact the AIA has developed and continues to oversee the contract documents has been hugely beneficial to our profession.
Our state councils, as I can attest being the Executive Director of the AIA Washington Council, also provide great value to our profession by advocating for the profession in our state capitals. We are very mindful of the dues our members pay and are always weighing what we do against the value we believe we are providing.
Jeffrey Hamlett, Esq., AIA
AIA Washington Council
While the statistics suggest that the profession's lobby is not as well-endowed as doctors, trial lawyers and the NRA, we often get our issues heard because we are altruistic for the most part. And by the way we have a PAC (ARCPAC) at the national level, but most architects disdain the idea of contributing- and it isn't mandatory or built into our dues structure. (we also have one in California as well called CALCPAC) We have lobbyists at the national level and also at the state level, at least here in California, that are constantly working on reviewing the bills put forth by Congress and our legislature, as well as offering up legislation or regulations to not only protect our industry but more often than not addressing good intentions that would have bad consequences...Just last year we were successful in limiting over reaching indemnification clauses in CA.
And that brings up my last point: we don't do things in a vacuum at AIA... we often align with engineers and other consultants in these efforts. The same goes for the documents... it isn't just attorneys, it is architects and insurance companies and operations folks and construction folks, etc. That is why the AIA documents are so universally endorsed- they are generally perceived to be fair and free of bias...
Scott F. Gaudineer, AIA
Flewelling & Moody, Inc.
815 Colorado Blvd., Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90041
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