Today’s construction industry is overwhelmed with rules and regulations.  From federal construction guidelines to local building codes, developers and builders face the monumental task of trying to please everyone.  Federal regulations concerning clean water and clean air, state laws regarding employment and workers compensation, local zoning ordinances and land use regulations as well as rules related to licensing of contractors and sub-contractors all play a tremendous part in vast amount of administrative work necessary for the completion of a structure.

The American Institute of Architects has developed and makes available to builders and developers standard forms that cover most of the scenarios experienced by the construction industry.  These form styles are common to builders and are readily available through printing companies or companies that produce special computer software.   Some businesses make templates available from which forms can be printed as needed.  Using these AIA style forms, the standard for the construction industry, helps to eliminate misgivings or misunderstandings among all parties involved in a construction project.

These federal, state and local ordinances and regulations have a tremendous effect on the construction industry.  Regardless of how necessary they may be, safety regulations and building codes harness and hamper the efforts of many builders.  Legalities become very cumbersome and getting every piece of paperwork completed correctly, in some instances, seem to take more time than the actual construction work.

For this reason, most contractors use the form styles that have been set up by the AIA.  They find them to be complete, concise and consistent.  Through the use of these forms, builders find that they can spend more time on the job site and less time in the office.  Further, adhering to local building codes and finding compatibility with local building departments and trades boards is made much easier through the use of universally accepted construction forms.

Blank standard forms are available for purchase from dealers.  An alternate way to obtain these forms is to purchase templates that can be used with Word or Excel programs.  These templates allow the contractor to personalize and print the exact form they need without having to purchase a packet of forms when all they need is one.

When a job is to be bid out and bid packages prepared, rather than providing the bidders with mounds of paper and blank forms, the individual or company requesting bids can require the submission of standard AIA forms spelling out exactly which forms are to be used. This action will guarantee the use of the correct form by all bidders and this consistency will greatly reduce the stress of comparing the bids received.

Construction proposal

Forms are used at the point of bidding when contractors are establishing an interest in the work to be performed.  The use of these proposal forms make it much easier for bid reviews because all bids are prepared in the same manner which allows for any necessary comparisons and eliminations.

After construction has begun, builders use standard forms for change requests if changes in the original construction plans become necessary.  And, if changes are needed, standard change order forms make is much easier to spell out exactly what change is to be completed, the dollar amount involved with the change and the time frame differential if the completion date has to change.

A little known legality of construction jobs is the requirement of liens when building materials are purchased on credit.  Until such time as these expenses are covered, the owner is legally responsible.  This applies to purchases made by the contractor as well as subcontractors.  Lien release forms are used to acknowledge the removal of these obligations and are an absolute necessity prior to the release of any retainers to the contractor.

Another essential, standard form is the Certificate of Substantial Completion.  This form is used at the time when the contractor is virtually finished with the work.  There may still exist a punch list of items to be completed or corrected, but by in large the project is done at this point, and the home or building can begin to be occupied.

All AIA forms are critical to the construction process.  They take much of the guess work out of the preparation and delineation of contracts.