Counting down the most important changes to the AIA A201 contract document [for Change #8, click here], today we will discuss the Contractor’s Means & Methods, which is #7 in the countdown.
First, a little history: as you know, means, methods, techniques, sequences, and procedures are all part of the Contractor’s responsibility on a construction site. However, when the AIA A201 was last revised, in 2007, there was a provision put in for that rare time when the Contract Documents gave specific instructions concerning a particular construction method. If the Contractor viewed such instructions as unsafe, he was to give notice to the Owner and Architect, and was not to proceed with that portion of the Work without further written instructions from the Architect. If the Architect directed him to proceed, the Contractor was absolved from any risks with following that instruction. Instead, the Owner assumed the responsibility for any loss or damage.
In the 2017 version (in Section 3.3.1) a slightly different approach was taken. The Contractor still has the sole responsibility for construction means and methods. However, if the Documents provide for a specific instruction which is unsafe, the Contractor is to give notice to the Owner and Architect, AND propose alternative means or methods.
The Architect then must evaluate the proposed alternative solely for conformance with the design intent for the completed construction. Unless the Architect objects to the proposed alternative, the Contractor is to perform the Work using the alternative it proposed.
Take away tip here? Make sure that you timely evaluate any such alternative proposal!
Up tomorrow: Change # 6: Notice Provisions. Until then, stay frosty!