The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Contract Documents program recently released a limited number of state-specific Sworn Construction Statements and Lien Waiver and Release forms for use on construction projects. At the same time, the AIA also released generic versions of the waiver and release forms for use in states without specific statutory requirements.
At present, twelve states in the United States (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming) regulate lien waiver and release forms on construction projects. These regulations vary in their requirements. While some state statutes only regulate the language to be used on the forms (i.e., Arizona), other state statutes seek to regulate the lien waiver and release forms down to the font size used (i.e., Georgia). Given the specificity of such regulations, lien waiver and release forms that do not conform with state regulations are routinely found invalid by courts, if challenged.
Because courts routinely demand strict adherence to the statutory requirements for lien waiver and release forms in states in which such forms are regulated, the AIA has carefully curated Sworn Construction Statements and Lien Waiver and Release forms for the 12 regulated states to conform with state statutes and has locked the ability to edit these forms, other than to permit the input of project specific details. The AIA has maintained the ability to edit the generic Sworn Construction Statements and Lien Waiver and Release forms, however, to fit the needs of a project in a state in which the forms are not strictly regulated.
Despite the care taken to craft and protect the Sworn Construction Statements and Lien Waiver and Release forms, the AIA nevertheless recommends that parties consult with their attorneys prior to using an AIA lien waiver and release form to ensure the form selected is valid and consistent with the parties’ needs for a particular project.