Starting—and Running—Your Own Firm

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Learn from the experience of others when starting your firm—or when confronting your firm’s day-to-day challenges . . .

Making the Transition to Running Your Own Firm

Insurance Coverage Issues for Professional Practices is a booklet developed by the Victor O. Schinnerer and CNA companies in conjunction with AIA Trust to assist licensed design professionals in transferring risks appropriately. A three-credit self-assessment test on the booklet is also available here.

Learn How to Run a Successful Architectural Practice!

Starting your own firm is a challenge; structuring it to survive is a formidable task. If you missed the recent webinar, you can still learn what is needed to start and run a successful architectural practice. Watch the webinar recording below to learn from experienced architects  running successful firms. (Note there is a 30 second delay in its start.)

You may click here to download the manual. If you want the slides (without audio) click here to download them. You may obtain two learning unit credits after reviewing the materials by emailing a request with your name and member number to

New Starter Firm Incentives for AIA Members AIA Trust Webinar

New Starter Firm Incentives for AIA Members is an 8 minute webinar—that offers AIA members starting a new firm an array of special benefits along with a detailed instruction page so those with eligible new firms may apply.

Small Firm Programs & Resources

The AIA Trust develops tools and resources that may be helpful to a small firm—and especially to those just starting out.

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Tools to help youTools to Help You Manage Your Risks

Dramatic changes in the economy mean that firms are taking on more risk.  Here are some tools to help you & your firm to evaluate and manage potential risk:

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To download a summary list of these tools, click here. Hide this list

applying for insuranceWhen Applying for Professional Liability Insurance

Underwriters and actuaries look at a number of factors to assess your firm’s potential risk, including your firm’s size, billings, location, clients, services provided, and project types. A 2011 study indicates other important factors help underwriters assess a firm’s potential risk. Find out how to present your firm in the best possible light when applying for professional liability insurance. Click here for the report.

Key Contracting Issues

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  • AIA offers a free guide that explores digital trends in design and construction including BIM and investigates the ramifications digital developments have on project participants, project success and the public in general. Click here for the guide.
  • AIA also offers a free set of Contract Document Relationship Diagrams that explain how contractual relationships work across different construction project delivery models and demonstrate the corresponding contracts to use for project delivery model.
  • To help you build a better contract, XL Group’s Design Professional team has compiled this overview of 10 “must-have” contract clauses for every contract.
  • Docucation is the AIA Contract Documents Education & Training Portal to provide easy, convenient education and resources including: live webinars, on-demand courses, education for credit, tutorial videos, guides and free resources. Click here to learn more.
  • AIA also offers a one-hour session (1 AIA HSW/LU) on the use, exchange & impact of digital data and BIM use on project communication and efficiency, plus other issues related to digital data. Register here (note: the member course fee is $45.99).
  • AIA Contract Documents – Protect your firm with one of the most effective ways to manage risk throughout every phase of design and construction.  Widely accepted by all stakeholders, AIA Contract Documents cover a complete range of project types, such as Small Projects, Sustainable Projects, Design-Build, Change Order, Payment Forms and more, through a comprehensive suite of over 180 contract documents.  Click here to learn more.
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AIA Trust News—Newsletter Articles

Catch the latest insights and ideas for running a successful practice – here are some recent topics on professional liability insurance & business coverage issues.

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National Healthcare Reform

heath care reform

The passage of comprehensive health care reform in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has posed numerous questions—for firm owners and employees alike. For many issues that impact employers and policyholders, various reforms and requirements go into effect in progressive years. The AIA Trust has developed a number of resources to help answer your questions, including the recently updated (2/2015) webinar about the ACA impact on firms, grandfathered plan fact sheet, and summary of legislative requirements in addition to others. The AIA Trust will continue to update and add resources. 

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The AIA Trust assumes no liability for the use of this information by AIA members or by others who by clicking on any of the links above agree to use the same at their sole risk. Any other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited. This information is provided as a member service and neither the authors nor the AIA Trust is rendering legal advice. Laws vary by state and members should seek legal counsel or professional advice to evaluate these suggestions and to advise the member on proper risk management tools for each project.