FAQs: A145™-2015, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder for a One or Two Family Residential Project


What is AIA Contract Document A145, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder for a One or Two Family Residential Project?

AIA Contract Document A145–2015 is a document intended to be used for a one or two family residential project. A145 consists of the Agreement portion and Exhibit A, a Design-Build Amendment that is executed when the owner and design-builder have agreed on the Contract Sum. A145–2015 is a streamlined document developed to meet the needs of residential owners and design-builders. For commercial or multi-family design-build projects, AIA Document A141™–2014, Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder, is more appropriate.


What is Design-Build?

Design-build is a project delivery method in which the owner contracts directly with one entity to provide both the design and construction of the project. It is important to recognize that a design-builder assumes responsibility and liability for both the design services and construction work. Prior to entering into this agreement, any person or entity that wishes to act as the design-builder should consult with its legal counsel and insurance advisers. Some states may restrict or prohibit design-build practices under statutes that regulate architectural registration, contractor licensing, or incorporation of professionals. Additionally, federal, state or local law may impose specific requirements on contracts for residential construction. The requirements for single-family and two-family projects may be different. The owner should consult local authorities or an attorney to verify requirements applicable to this agreement. 


Can A145 be used for a residential condominium or multi-family project?

No, A145 has been drafted specifically for use for one or two-family residential projects and does not take into consideration some of the unique aspects of residential condominiums or multi-family projects. Other documents specifically tailored to those types of projects include: 

  • B109™–2020, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect for a Multi-Family Residential or Mixed Use Residential Project, and 
  • B509™–2020, Guide for Supplementary Conditions to AIA Document B109™–2020 for use on Condominium Projects


What kind of compensation methods can be used with A145?

A145 is intended to be flexible and can be used with most compensation methods including stipulated sum, cost of the work without a guaranteed maximum price (GMP), or cost of the work with GMP. The compensation method will be chosen and described in Exhibit A, Design-Build Amendment.


What General Conditions document should I use with A145?

A145 contains its own General Conditions within the document. A separate General Conditions document is not required.  


How does A145 differ from AIA Document A141–2014, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Design-Builder?

The most obvious difference is that A145 is significantly shorter than A141, which is geared toward larger commercial construction projects. A145 is streamlined to include the provisions that are most relevant to residential owners and design-builders, making the document less complicated and better suited to residential one or two-family residential projects, while still maintaining valuable protections. 

Additionally, A145 includes flexible compensation provisions, a detailed process for the development of the Owner’s Criteria, and fill points for jurisdictional requirements unique to residential construction. However, A145 is structured so that the articles appear in the same order as in A141, making it easy to perform a side-by-side comparison between the two documents.


I’ve heard that contracts for residential construction may require specific language pertaining to issues like liens or warranties. Does A145 include this language?

Many jurisdictions require that contracts for residential design-build projects include specific language that places the owner of the project on notice of its rights with respect to the contract. These provisions are often mandatory and there may be specific statutory language, format and font requirements that must be closely followed. A145 lists a number of common topic headings where jurisdictional requirements may be included. Additionally, the requirements for single-family and two-family projects may be different. It is important to consult with the relevant authorities having jurisdiction over the project, or with legal counsel to ensure that the proper information is included in the contract. 


Can I use A145 with other Design-Build documents?

A145 is a stand-alone document for use by a Design-Builder that is performing both design and construction services. Although A145 shares some similarities with other documents in the AIA’s Design-Build family, A145 is not coordinated for use with those documents, and should NOT be used in tandem with agreements in the Design-Build family without a careful side-by-side comparison of contents. 

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