New AIA contract document designates responsibilities for sustainable projects

Roles of architects, contractors outlined in E204–2017.

October 12, 2017 |

American Institute of Architects’ 2017 updates of contract documents provide detailed guidelines on how to devise and assign responsibility for sustainable elements of a construction project.

Key points of Document E204–2017 include:

  • A requirement for the architect and owner to hold a sustainable design feature workshop
  • Delineation of testing and implementation strategies to achieve sustainability goals
  • Allocation of responsibility for sustainable measures

Other provisions address specific sustainable issues such as materials substitutions, construction waste management, registration with certifying authority, and achieving a sustainable objective at substantial and final completion. The overall sustainability plan is defined as a contract document.

Owners, architects, and contractors are expected to understand the sustainability plan and their responsibilities in performing measures that are assigned to them. The document states that the contractor does not guarantee achievement of the sustainable objective (such as LEED certification) but is responsible if the company fails to live up to its duties to perform sustainable measures assigned to it.

E204 is meant as an attachment to the owner-architect agreement, the owner-contractor agreement, and other project-related agreements as appropriate. This document replaces earlier documents D503–2011 and A141–2014 Exhibit C. The latter was meant specifically for design/build contracts. The new document addresses sustainability for projects of all types of delivery methods.

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