This is part 1 of a 15-part series on the changes to the AIA A201 General Conditions. This part deals with section 1.1.8.
In the 2017 changes, particularly section 1.1.8, there are some fairly significant changes to the Initial Decision Maker clause. The changes are as follows:
First, in my humble opinion, the whole Initial Decision Maker process is a bad idea. It usually ends up, by default, being the Architect under section 15.2.1 because people generally do not change the language and select a third-party. So, you basically have the fox guarding the chicken coop. The Architect, as the Initial Decision Maker, has a lot of control over the outcome of the dispute.
This scenario was attempted to be worked out by the language that “the Initial Decision Maker shall not show partiality to the Owner or Contractor…” but that does not fix the problem. How do you deal with a breach of this provision?