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New changes released in construction contracts

Late last month, the American Institute of Architects released more than a dozen revised and new contracts they claim will better represent "trends and nuances" in the construction industry. An AIA executive announced that these changes will "ensure the design and construction industries are working under the best agreements possible for their businesses."

Revisions and changes include options for subcontractors and contractors to set conditions and terms for agreements to include multiple spheres of work. They also released updated documents they feel will more clearly address any legal issues that crop up in business relationships and joint ventures.

AIA stated that one change of note is that bidding documents can now be delivered electronically. Another involves adding mediation to the special services agreement between architects and consultants.

Regardless of a contractor's level of familiarity with AIA's construction agreements and other documents, it's always wise to have your Fort Lauderdale construction law attorney review and approve any changes to your contracts and legal documents.

While it is likely that all will be above board and not adversely affect your position should a legal challenge or dispute later evolve, this is not a given. Sometimes the smallest of word change, e.g., substituting "shall" for "may," can alter the meaning substantially in a contract.

Contract disputes can result in costly litigation, stop-work orders and labor problems — all of which can wind up adversely affecting a contractor's bottom line and profit margins.

When it comes to any type of contractual agreements, you always want to make sure that you and your company are standing on legally firm ground.

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