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Lawyer & AIA Doc Recommendations

  • 1.  Lawyer & AIA Doc Recommendations

    Posted 02-08-2019 14:35

    I have recently just started my own practice and have my first project - a custom residential addition and remodel. I'm posting to the group hoping to get:

    1. Recommendations for lawyers in the Sacramento, Folsom or Auburn area (I am located in Granite Bay) that can help me with the legal matters that come with running a small architecture practice including contract/document review.

    2. Advice on which AIA documents I should use for such a project (small residential addition and remodel, design-bid-build).

    Any advice on what other architects typically do for their projects is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you!

    Justin Hughes, AIA

    Justin Hughes AIA
    Granite Bay CA
    Open: Call for submissions at - Financial support for non-profits working with architects

  • 2.  RE: Lawyer & AIA Doc Recommendations

    Posted 02-11-2019 17:54

    When I started my small practice ( which is still small, 31 years later), I bought Professional Liability insurance through a great company (Dealer Renton).  As part of my insurance coverage, they have lawyers that you can call if you have questions or concerns about a project or a contract, and usually it is at no charge.  They want to help you prevent future claims.  They also advised us on our contract (we don't always use the AIA contract document, but have the important clauses and protections in ours).  But the AIA does have contracts between owner and architect for small projects.  Be careful how you structure your fees.  We ended up only working hourly on all our projects, instead of for a fixed fee or set percentage of construction cost, because we always lost money on those.  Keep in mind that there is much over which the architect has little or no control on a project, and yet you will spend a lot of time dealing with it.  That includes getting the government and local approvals, how many designs the clients want to see, the builder they ultimately hire to build it and changes during construction.

    Hope that helps a bit.

    Gina Moffitt AIA
    Kiyohara Moffitt
    Los Angeles CA

    Open: Call for submissions at - Financial support for non-profits working with architects

  • 3.  RE: Lawyer & AIA Doc Recommendations

    Posted 02-11-2019 18:30


    Congratulations on starting your own practice and getting your first commission!

    I use the AIA B-105 owner-architect agreement for small projects.  I've added quite a few clauses to flesh out that document based on past experience.  Also, I suggest talking to your insurance carrier about clauses they recommend, i.e. limitation of liability.  It also helps to include a list of services that are specifically excluded from your scope of work, i.e. detailed estimates of construction cost.


    Best of luck in your new adventure!


    Kendal W. Perkins

    Architect, AIA, MBA


    Apex Architectural Services, LLC

    177 Shamard Drive / Natchitoches, LA  71457

    Tel: (318) 581-3237


    Isn't GOD Good?


    Open: Call for submissions at - Financial support for non-profits working with architects

  • 4.  RE: Lawyer & AIA Doc Recommendations

    Posted 02-11-2019 19:14
    Look into the B105; three pages of basic material.

    That said, you will want to talk with your legal counsel about things to be added or changed in California (and elsewhere).

    Such as:
    Statement that this agreement is the agreement and any changes need to be in writing.
    Mutual waiver of consequential claims (may be a topic of California law)
    Limitation of liability (perhaps to "fees paid")
    Lien rights (again, California Law)
    Whatever you may want to include regarding release of liability for anything that happens during construction if they don't involve you in construction administration - see recent discussion here.

    The "for the following Project" part of page one is the place to describe the project in as much detail as you can.  If you say "1 bedroom addition" and later the Owner(s) decide 2 bedrooms are needed - document that and see it it impacts your fee, schedule, project budget, etc.

    Welcome to the club.

    Joel Niemi AIA
    Joel Niemi Architect
    Snohomish, WA

    Open: Call for submissions at - Financial support for non-profits working with architects