Dear YouDig?

Dear YouDig?,

These AIA construction contract forms are ridiculous. Draft after draft, I mark it up and send it back. They mark it up and return it to me. Their lawyer makes more changes. My lawyer accepts some and rejects others. Red-lines, blue-lines, green-lines, orange-lines, additions and deletions. It goes on and on and on. With all those colors and an alphabet full of initials, it takes a super computer to figure out who is who, who wrote what and when they wrote it. We want to start building our project–not play word games. What is the solution?

– Splash

Dear Splash,

You can be sure the contracting process will be a sea of misery if you let it.  Right the ship, and insist that the project partners agree on contract items specific to that particular project up front before churning away at risk allocation, indemnity, dispute resolution, delays, change orders and other clauses that relate to virtually every project and are covered in the massive form libraries.

Once a few electronic exchanges are completed, try something novel in this day and age…  we call it “roundtabling.”  Have all project partners MEET IN PERSON and negotiate eye to eye at the table (no need for table to actually be round and no need for everyone to stare at each other. It’s a metaphor;  got it?) Be prepared to argue hard for implementation of 10 issues most important to you. To make a deal though, be even more prepared to give away a few items. This is not the time to play shark on every issue.

All parties want to build buildings, not swirl in a vortex  of red-lines, letters and versions. Take the initiative and be the one who says, “NO ONE LEAVES ‘TIL WE ARE DONE!”