How Do the AIA and ConsensusDocs General Terms and Conditions Standard Contract Documents Compare?

Find out on November 17th on a Complimentary Webinar

ConsensusDocs is hosting a complimentary webinar on November 17, 2022, at 2:00 P.M. ET on critical differences between ConsensusDocs (200) and the American Institute of Architect’s (A201) General Terms and Conditions. All registrants will have access to the recording as well as any materials.  Register now here.

The chart below highlights some of the differences between ConsensusDocs 200 and the AIA A201 on key terms and conditions for general construction projects. An at-a-glance comparison of these issues will help any construction practitioner in their contract negotiation considerations.  

AIA A201 vs. ConsensusDocs 200 General Terms and Conditions:
Contract Documents at-a-Glance


American Institute of Architect’s A201

ConsensusDocs 200

Drafted By

Architects and staff to the AIA.

Written and endorsed by 40+ leading industry associations.


To further the architectural profession.

To identify best practices to advance project results.

Role of the Owner

Passive. Their primary role is to pay.

Active to help ensure the owner’s goals are met.


Over a hundred years of court decisions from parties fighting over AIA language in legal disputes.

No reported court decisions after being used on over $60 billion of construction projects. 


Communications are funneled through the architect as the “protector” of the owner. “Architect” is mentioned almost 300 times.

Direct Party communications are encouraged and required before proceeding to dispute resolution.


Separated general terms and conditions contract document from the agreement.  Two documents to administer

One integrated document that includes general conditions and the agreement.

Dispute Resolution

Creates an Initial Decision Maker (IDM), which is the Architect by default. 


Requires a tiered mitigation process with direct communications between the Parties.


Comparative negligence but no offsetting of concurrent negligence. Each party pays for its defense costs.

The parties are only responsible for their comparative negligence. Defense costs are commensurate with the percentage of fault.

Waiver of Consequential Damages

Complete waiver.

Limited Waiver with blanks for potential items excluded from the waiver.

Lien Waivers

Permits an unconditional lien waiver when applying for a progress payment and before final payment. 

Prohibits unconditional lien waivers.

Order of Precedence

No precedence. Likely to be the most expensive interpretation by A/E.

Established in the contract. Generally, the most recent contract documents are given a higher precedential value.

If you have any questions on this information, please contact Brian Perlberg at

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