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Title:Tip #4: Understand the Contracts - Top 10 Tips for the Architecture Registration Exam A.R.E. Webinar

To learn more about the Site Planning & Design Exam, visit Tip number four, now we're getting into some of the specific stuff. You should understand the contracts. You don't have to understand every aspect of the contracts, but there are a few elements that you should understand about the AIA contract. Now what this means is you're going to have to actually read the contract. Reading contracts is almost as boring as reading the MEEB Book. It's not quite as boring as that, but it's pretty close. It's very, very difficult to just sit down and read through these contracts. So once again, one of the things that I'm going to suggest is that you actually spend some time understanding the basics of what it is you're looking for. So then when you read the contracts, you're looking for how does this contract actually say that? So I'll give you a couple little quick examples of that. If you think about... Well, first of all who has contracts here? The obvious one that you most care about is the owner to architect. So we have the owner/architect contract which is the B101 or one of its related ones, B107. We also have the owner/contractor, the A101 or the A107, etc. Those are the two main contracts. Then the A201, so the A101, the owner, and the contractor sign. The B101, the owner, and the architect sign. Who signs the A201 General Condition? Anybody know? It's one of the key contracts that rules all of the work that you do. It's fascinating. It is not the architect to contractor. There is no contract between the architect and the contractor, and yet, we have lots of relationships between ourselves which you know are protecting the contractor. How does that work? The two contracts are referenced into each other's contract. So the A201, the General Conditions is not signed. It's referenced into the other contracts. So if you actually had a contract that had all of the information in it about who's paying for the Porta-Johns, who's paying for the electricity? How do the change orders work? If you had all of that actually in your contract, the contract its self would be incredibly long and very hard for people to understand what they were signing. So what they do is they have whole bunch of standard information that can be altered per situations. But it has a bunch of standard information that's put off to the side so all that standard, the general conditions, everybody can understand because it's off to the side and then the other ones then say "And by way we include the A201 in his contract." So they reference it in to that contract. So you focus the contracts on the important things that need to be understood for the negotiation, but then all that backdrop of information that has to be there for everybody to know what their roles are is all still there. So understanding who has the contract, if I have a subcontractor and that subcontractor has a contract with the contractor, obviously, can I talk to the subcontractor? Can I go talk to him? The answer is no. I cannot. Now we all know that we go talk to subcontractors all the time. We're not talking about how things work in the world. We're talking about how they work on the exam. You cannot talk to that subcontractor. Who do you talk to? The general contractor. Technically you actually talk to the owner who talks to the general contractor. But because the A201 says "Oh, by the way there's this relationship between you guys." You can actually talk straight because you're acting as an agent for the owner. So you can talk straight to the general contractor. So that conversation has to go through the general contractor before it goes to anybody else. So when you start looking at the contracts, you're looking for these key pieces of information. One of them is architects do design intent. Contractors do means and methods. So your role is to do... "This is what we think it should be. This is how we think it fits into the world." Code and all that kind of stuff. The contractor's job is to then make that happen. This is one of the great things about studying for the A.R.E. Taking the A.R.E. we all know kind of sucks, but studying for the A.R.E. you're absolutely going to be a better architect because of it. There’s no question. So architect's design intent, contractor's means and methods. So let's look at what that might mean. You look at the standard of care. This is the official way that we talk about how these things go. The standard of care for an architect is reasonable and prudent. The standard of care for the contractor is conformance. Those are very different. You have to start looking for that terminology in order to start reading the contracts. You'll start seeing it differently and it'll make sense. Don't just start reading. Understand what you're looking for first.


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