CONNstruction - Summer 2009 - (Page 17)

newsandviews ConsensusDOCS™: Dare to Change In his inaugural address at the AGC of America Convention in March entitled “Dare to Challenge, Dare to Change,” AGC of America President Doug Pruitt described the design and construction industries as adversarial, litigious, and inefficient. In the past, standard industry documents that govern performance have contributed mightily to our troubled image. Yet, Pruitt also held out hope that the industry is meeting the challenge in part with the recent introduction of a new set of standard industry documents, ConsensusDOCS, which owners played a key role in shaping. As with anything this revolutionary, it will take time for ConsensusDOCS to integrate into the system, but it’s fair to say that owners will need to take the lead if the documents are to achieve the collective success they deserve. Written in 2007 by a broad-based group of construction stakeholders, including AGC of America, ConsensusDOCS departs from the traditional adversarial, protective ideal that contracts have to favor one party over another; rather, it takes a more shared approach. The focus is on balanced risk allocation, and positive communication and collaboration between all parties from the time of negotiation through completion. This approach provides more of an opportunity to reduce costs and the number of potential disputes on the project. The owners’ organizations participating in the effort wanted a shift away from the conventional architectdriven approach to something more collaborative and something which gave them more direct control. The perception, real or otherwise, was that the AIA family of documents was headed in the opposite direction. Among the owner-oriented concepts contained in By John W. Butts AGC/CT Assistant Executive Director ConsensusDOCS are: • Owners are given full control to be an active participant and ultimate decision-maker on the project. • Owners maintain their rights to contest claims and change orders, while ensuring constant project progress. Owners have the most to gain or lose in a project, and saving time and money are integral to better project results. • Owners are allowed to obtain greater permission to use the design documents for which they paid. • Parties are expressly encouraged to communicate directly and agree to act ethically, which provides the basis for a positive team environment. • The Tri-Party Collaborative Agreement offers the construction industry’s first standard integrated project delivery (IPD) standard contract wherein the owner, designer, and contractor all sign the same agreement and form a core management team to further the project’s best interests. It is far too early to assess the success of ConsensusDOCS, however, it is attracting attention. In its first year, sales of the new family of documents exceeded expectations, and the initial response from the industry was overwhelmingly positive for its straight-forward language and common sense approach. According to McGraw Hill Key Construction Trends, 94 percent of owners believe that the new ConsensusDOCS adds value or may add value to owners. The governor of South Dakota recently signed into law legislation authorizing ConsensusDOCS as a standard document for state construction projects. More and more projects are using ConsensusDOCS or sections from ConsensusDOCS as the basis for current and new projects. So while ConsensusDOCS seems to be in the initial stages of gaining a foothold in the industry, the real questions are, is it here to stay and perhaps more important, can it make a significant dent in the advantage AIA has forever enjoyed as the de facto industry standard for contract documents? AIA continues to dominate the market, but for how long? As the construction market continues to evolve and owners start seeing tangible savings and benefits, don’t be surprised to see ConsensusDOCS steadily erode AIA’s supremacy, particularly if AIA continues to refuse to adapt to an everchanging marketplace. For the moment, though, the challenge will be in convincing owners to try a more collaborative approach with their next project. Old habits die hard, though. It’s too easy for owners and owners’ attorneys to take the same old battle-tested contract, tweak it accordingly, and call it good. For ConsensusDOCS to truly take hold in the industry, owners must understand that it’s in their own best interests to take that leap of faith. CONNstruction / Summer 2009 / 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Summer 2009

CONNstruction - Summer 2009
Adapting to Change
The Future will be Lean and Green
Think Regionally, Act Regionally
Demanding Notice and an Opportunity to Be Heard When a State Agency Changes its Rules: A Call for Democracy
U.S. Supreme Court Expands Employee Protection Against Retaliation
ConsensusDOCS™: Dare to Change
Reauthorization of Federal SAFETEA-LU
Get on the Bus: LiUNA
Get on the Bus: LiUNA
Economic Downturn Gives Owners Time for Business Exit Strategy Planning
AGC/CT Annual Meeting
CONNDOT-CAAPA Paving Conference
Senator Lieberman Visit
UCAC’s Spring General Membership Meeting
Local 478 Education Trust Dinner
Index to Advertisers

CONNstruction - Summer 2009