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In May, AIA launched a new scope of services document for sustainability consultants, C204-2020, which provides a roadmap for sustainable design and construction. The document responds to a growing trend of owners shifting traditional sustainability coordination efforts from architects of record to consultants who specialize in sustainability. C204 is drafted for architects and non-architects who are implementing the many stages of the sustainability process. A sustainability consultant works with the owner to identify the owner’s sustainable objective. This might include achieving a sustainability certification; minimizing the building’s carbon footprint; optimizing the health and well-being of the building’s occupants; and improving the building’s energy efficiency. Before the conclusion of the project’s schematic design phase, the consultant conducts a sustainability workshop with all stakeholders, including the owner, the owner’s other consultants, the architect, the architect’s consultants, and the contractor, if they joined the project early.

“Although we have many staff with professional sustainability accreditations, we often encourage the owner to hire the sustainability consultant directly to manage the process and deal with all of the paperwork, allowing us to focus on creating a sustainable design,” says Tara Myers, AIA, a principal at Earl Swensson Associates. “C204 will give owners an agreement tailored specifically to this process.”

Following the workshop, the sustainability consultant prepares the sustainability plan, which outlines the measures necessary to achieve the sustainable objective. The plan allocates responsibility for each sustainable measure—a specific design or construction element, or post-occupancy use, operation, maintenance, or monitoring requirement—to the project participant in the best position to perform it. The sustainability plan also serves as a contract document and must be incorporated into agreements with project participants performing services or work in any way associated with the sustainable objective. In addition, the plan details responsibilities for sustainability documentation required for the project; implementation strategies to achieve the sustainable objective; and specific details about design reviews, testing, or metrics to verify achievement of each sustainable measure.

C204 addresses the consultant’s services during procurement and construction and contains a supplemental services table with categories specific to sustainability. Examples of these categories include daylight analysis, envelope and glazing thermal modeling, and indoor air quality analysis. Other responsibilities of the sustainability consultant include gathering information and coordinating with all parties; submitting documents to the certifying authority and obtaining approvals; and handling fees.

C204 is part of AIA’s conventional design-bid-build family of documents and is not a standalone agreement; accordingly, it must be paired with a document that provides necessary contract terms, such as C103-2015 Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Consultant without a Predefined Scope of Consultant’s Services. Because C204 works in conjunction with the E204-2017 Sustainable Projects Exhibit among the owner, architect, and contractor, the owner will need to edit E204 to account for the consultant’s role and eliminate overlap with the architect’s role. E204 defines key sustainable terms, and C204 references these definitions.

Along with the publication of the new C204, AIA released its revised Sustainable Projects Guide, D503-2020. The guide details a variety of sustainable topics and discusses how to develop a sustainability plan based on a particular certification system. Rather than referring to the retired SP documents, as D503-2013 did, the 2020 update presents an in-depth commentary about each provision in E204.

“Sustainable projects can have a lot of nuances that are not addressed in most standard agreements, which makes AIA’s family of sustainable documents even more important,” Myers says. “D503 has served as a great resource for me in the past and the updates make it an even more valuable reference guide.”

D503’s primary focus is to explain the roles and responsibilities of the owner, architect, and contractor regarding sustainable design and construction projects. Additionally, the guide covers current topics, such as materials transparency; resilience; environmental product labels and certification systems; and jurisdictional requirements relevant to sustainable projects. New to this guide is commentary on the C401-2017 and C402- 2017 Architect-Consultant agreements, as well as a sample of a completed WELL Certification Plan.

Also published as part of AIA’s May 2020 documents release was an updated Programming Scope of Services, B202-2020. B202 outlines steps for architects to discuss programming requirements with owners. Among its many changes, B202 now defines programming, which entails identifying, discussing, and prioritizing values, goals, and objectives to establish performance and design criteria for the project. Once the architect and owner have defined the program, the architect gathers project-related information, analyzes data, and develops program documents for the project. B202 must pair with an Owner-Architect Agreement—ideally B102-2017 Owner-Architect without a Predefined Scope of Architect’s Services. However, B202 may attach to other AIA Owner-Architect Agreements to satisfy provisions requesting the owner’s program for the project.