The AIA is improving access to its Contract Documents service by launching the latest version of the software as a Cloud-based application, the association announced today. ACD5 allows architects, contractors, owners, attorneys, and other users to create, edit, share, and store data for more than 180 forms and agreements. Documents can be reviewed and edited offline, with the latest information added by other project team members updating the next time the user connects to the Internet. The platform can be accessed through a Web browser on both Mac and PC operating systems

“As the evolution of the current AIA Contract Documents software platform, ACD5 is absolutely transformational for busy professionals who need instant access to their contracts,” said Deborah DeBernard, AIA, vice president and general manager of AIA Contract Documents, in a press release.

Previously, users of the AIA’s Contract Documents software were required to keep a PC in the office to run the program and to install its updates manually. The new Cloud-based platform will automatically update, allowing the AIA to refresh its bank of documents more readily.

  • The AIA designed a template-selection tool to help users make better use of the organization's inventory of 180 project documents.

    Credit: AIA

    The AIA designed a template-selection tool to help users make better use of the organization's inventory of 180 project documents.

The service’s enhanced functionality—and its new home in the Cloud—aims to streamline collaboration and speed up the document review process. With the update, users can share documents with project team members and set deadlines and permission levels, such as what portions of an agreement can be reviewed and during what window of time. The update also adds a tool for helping users select the document template that is best suited for a project, rather than simply modifying a standby contract to fit the job. Additionally, the platform stores commonly used legal clauses as well as language specific to a firm’s practice. Users can compare the wording of up to three documents side by side to evaluate changes made by team members.

An administrator account can be used to manage security, add users, and publish global clauses and templates. Single- and multi-user accounts are available. Users also can opt to purchase and edit single documents, through the AIA Documents-on-Demand Plus feature, as well as bundles of 10 to 20 selected forms and agreements that are most popular among architects and contractors. The AIA told ARCHITECT that it plans to launch additional documents tailored to project formats such as design-build and sustainable construction in the first half of 2014. The platform costs $899.99 for AIA member firms to access unlimited documents.


The update is available to new and existing AIA Contract Documents customers, though the AIA says the existing Contract Documents software will be phased out within six to nine months of ACD5's launch. During that period, most of ACD5's functionality will not be available in the non-Cloud-based software, the AIA says, except for the review-sharing feature and access to the template library.

  • Users can save custom language in the platform's clause library to more easily incorporate the text into documents.

    Credit: AIA

    Users can save custom language in the platform's clause library to more easily incorporate the text into documents.