In 2007, a group of construction industry associations collaborated to publish the ConsensusDOCS contract forms. These forms were meant to provide a uniform set of contract documents which could be used in construction projects.
Recently, the ConsensusDOCS contract forms have been updated. This is news, as the revision comes earlier than expected. After all, it has only been a little more than three years since these documents were officially released by ConsensusDOCS. The revision comes about 18 months sooner than the next anticipated release of contract documents (the original revision cycle was to be 5 years).
The revision was released early because of the new economics of the construction industry, which have radically changed since 2007, when the first ConsensusDOCS contract documents were released.
Among the notable changes are several terminology changes, such as "constructor" replacing "contractor." The new forms also contain a more-detailed definition of "Contract Documents," which definition is more logically located in the new forms than in the old.
Also, the new revision includes mandatory green building design as a basic service if included in the Owner's plan. Previously, the ConsensusDOCS contract forms included a Green Building Addendum.
In addition, the new contract forms include the ability for the prevailing party to recover attorney's fees, whereas in the previous forms both sides of a dispute bore their own fees. The new forms also allow an Owner to audit a contractor's (or "constructor's") books.
These are not all of the changes, and the revisions are fairly extensive. Anyone involved in the construction industry should consult with an experienced construction attorney, such as Barton Gernander of Patrick Burns & Associates, to discuss the changes in the ConsensusDOCS contract forms, and whether use of the revised ConsensusDOCS forms is appropriate.