Contracting for School Construction

By Thomas E. Myers, Lynn Rossi Scott, Wayne D. Haglund, P.C., Robert E. Luna, Lee M. Simpson, and Paul Taylor

Few administrators or board members are experts in construction. Most rely on their architects and contractors to guide them through the process. However, the first and most important professional to hire when confronting a building project is the attorney. Just as the school district does not hire an attorney to design its buildings, neither should it expect its architect to draft contracts.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), through its standard contract forms, made it easy for architects to assume that role. However, these forms are more suitable for commercial construction. We have found numerous provisions in the contracts that are illegal, unconstitutional, or unwise for school districts. You must revise standard AIA contracts to comply with your state laws and to protect your school.

The Texas Association of School Boards’ construction contract committee has drafted standard amendments for use by attorneys representing Texas school districts. Those forms are also available through NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys.

Here are some important points to consider in your next school construction contract:

Subscribers please click here to continue reading. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to purchase this article or to obtain a subscription to ASBJ.