The Web is changing the way business is done. For construction companies looking for an easy way to draft and share contract documents, the AIA (American Institute of Architects), www.aia.org, Washington, D.C., continues to develop new ways for users to share and access its AIA Contract Documents.

Most recently, the institute unveiled a new online service that will allow users to access any contract drafts and documents from the AIA Contract Document library.

The service is both easily accessible and flexible, according to AIA, as users can access documents from the library from anywhere with an Internet connection, and can additionally choose to work offline by downloading a draft to the computer and continuing to work offline when an Internet connection is not available.

With the service, construction professionals can search the library for documents using full-text search options that include keywords. For usability, users can also preview the documents prior to starting a new draft.

When drafting a document, the Online Editor is similar to a word-processing interface, allowing construction professionals to track changes and change fonts. The Clause Library allows users to reuse language across multiple documents, which saves quite a bit of time.

When sharing documents through the service, users can track changes, and share with multiple different parties. The service keeps track of the reviewing status from all project participants.

When users go to finalize the document, they can provide digital signatures for approval, and save and print PDFs from the online system.

For many professionals, security and privacy when sharing contract documents in such a manner could be cause for concern. However, the AIA service does have multiple layers of protection, including log-in security, encrypted upload and download of information, and storage of documents at a host facility with backup systems.

For construction companies using AIA Contract Documents, this service might be a good one to consider when drafting, sharing, and storing contracts.