- Landscape architecture businesses can benefit from new on-line sample contract documents located on the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) web site www.asla.org. ASLA established a new section of its web site, "ASLA Sample Contract Documents," to assist members with sample contract language, which they can use in their professional practices.
The sample contract documents are expected particularly to benefit small firms by reducing costs for legal consultation. Many landscape architects are employed in small- to medium-sized firms. According to the 1999 ASLA Business Indicator survey, 75% of ASLA members work for or own firms of one to nine employees.
"This is exactly what every landscape architect should use," says Jim Frank, ASLA, of Cole + Russell Architects, Cincinnati, Ohio. "I know we will use a lot of what is contained in the sample contract document. My charge at Cole + Russell Architects is to use contract documents with landscape architectural clauses and not revised architectural clauses."
Currently available on the web site is an abbreviated standardized agreement between client and landscape architect. It covers the landscape architect's basic and additional services, client's responsibilities, estimated schedule and project budget, compensation and payments, termination, dispute resolution, ownership of documents and other provisions. ASLA members can view and download the document by logging on to the "Member Section" of ASLA OnLine.
Leatzow & Associates, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, has donated the sample contract documents to ASLA through a special partnering arrangement. Together, they plan to include additional documents on the web site and will review the materials on a regular basis to ensure they are easily accessible and understandable. They also plan to eventually supplement the existing document with other standard form documents, covering additional services request, contract change order request, and request for information responses to contracts.
Members using the contract documents are strongly encouraged to have the documents checked by a local attorney. A list of specialty law firms-listed by state and available for inexpensive contract review-is available on the contract documents section of the web site.
"The sample contract document is one of a continuing series of services we wish to bring to the membership that will directly benefit their practice," says ASLA Vice President for Information and Professional Affairs Patrick W. Caughey, ASLA. "We welcome suggestions from members about other value-added services that would be useful to them in their practices."
The American Society of Landscape Architects, founded in 1899, represents more than 13,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. Typical projects include site design and planning, town and urban planning, regional planning, preparation of environmental impact plans, garden design, historic preservation, and parks/recreation design and planning. Landscape architects hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. They are licensed to practice in 46 states and are required to pass a rigorous national three-day examination.