Explanation of AIA Contracts

The documents produced by the AIA are the most widely used standard form contracts in the construction industry. They facilitate communication among all the parties involved in construction, which makes it easier to produce a high quality project in a timely and economical fashion.


AIA documents are fair.

AIA contracts and forms are consensus documents that reflect advice from practicing architects, contractors, engineers as well as owners, surety bond producers, issuers and attorneys. AIA documents balance the interest of all the parties, so not one interest, including that of the architect, is unfairly presented.

AIA documents reflect industry practices, not theory.

Where practices are inconsistent or no guidelines for practices exist, the AIA documents provide a consensus-based model for practitioners to follow.

AIA documents reflect changing construction practices and technology.

AIA documents are revised regularly to accommodate changes in professional and industry practices, insurance and technology.

AIA documents reflect the law.

AIA documents are revised and updated to incorporate changes resulting from court interpretations and rulings, legal precedent, and nuances.

AIA documents are flexible.

AIA documents can be easily modified to accommodate individual project demands. Such changes are easily distinguished from the original, printed language.

AIA documents are easy to interpret.

AIA documents use the common meaning of words and phrases. Industry and legal jargon is avoided whenever possible.

Contracts for Residential Projects

Type of Project

When the owner’s project is:
(1) small, such as a residential renovation or addition;
(2) straight-forward in design;
(3) blessed with established, good working relationships among the project team;
(4) of short duration – less than one year from start of design to completion of construction; and
(5) without delivery complications such as competitive bidding, it may be appropriate to use the small project family.

Contract Document Family

Small Project Family: A105, A205, B155


This family of documents is suitable for small projects such as residential renovation, additions, and other projects of relatively low cost and brief duration.