WASHINGTON - A diverse group of 20 construction associations representing designers, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and sureties has launched ConsensusDOCS, which includes more than 70 collaboratively drafted construction contracts.

According to the associations, the release of ConsensusDOCS represents the first time that broad industry representation has had an equal voice in collaboratively drafting construction contracts.

“The release of ConsensusDOCS is one of the most significant industry developments in the last 20 years,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “We believe this effort will positively transform the industry's use of standard contract documents.”

The documents were developed to help all parties focus on better project results, rather than negotiating risk-shifting contract terms.

“The best practices of the 2007 ConsensusDOCS establish a new ‘gold standard’ for defining contractual relationships in design and construction projects,” said E. Colette Nelson, executive vice president of the American Subcontractors Association (ASA). “These documents encourage practices that are in the best interest of all parties to a project rather than merely reflecting existing unfair business practices and industry trends.”

The documents address all project delivery methods, from design-bid-build to a new innovative, collaborative agreement (ConsensusDOCS 300). The contracts and forms also help address emerging issues such as electronic communications and building information modeling (ConsensusDOCS 200.2).

Owner involvement was an integral part of the drafting process. “We are pleased to have supported and endorsed this valiant industry effort,” noted Greg Sizemore, executive vice president of the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT). “For once the industry has come together in a truly collaborative way to create value for all the stakeholders.” Industry owners were able to hear the concerns of all construction parties and this helped to better allocate risk to the most appropriate parties.

“COAA is happy to be part of the industry collaboration which ultimately became ConsensusDOCS,” added Jack Mumma, president of Construction Owners Association of America (COAA). “We recognize that when it comes to contract documents, there's no such thing as one size fits all.”

“I am really anxious to see this collaborative effort produce an even-handed family of documents that all segments of the construction industry agree is balanced,” commented Dudley Miles, past president of Associated Specialty Contractors (ASC).

Thomas J. Soles, marketing director at the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA), said, “SMACNA is pleased to have been a partner in the development of the ConsensusDOCS during the past three years. We are particularly satisfied with the more favorable payment, indemnity, and consequential damages clauses agreed to in the subcontract form, ConsensusDOCS 250.”

For more information, visit www.ConsensusDOCS.org.

Publication date:10/08/2007