Green or sustainable building has become a focal point in the construction industry.  And, with sustainable building contracts come green building obligations.  Contractors and subcontractors have to make sure they understand these requirements for “green” projects. 

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), created by the USGBC (United States Green Building Council) is the leading method for “green” certification.  The LEED rating system has a number of requirements, just a few are: (1) compliance with the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan; (2) maintaining law VOC limits; (3) keeping and submitting the proper documentation for materials used on the site; and (4) following the waste management plan for recycling construction waste.  Each of these requirements earns the project owner points and a failure to comply with the “green” plan, could impact the LEED certification level or even certification itself. 

Contractors and subcontractors must be aware of the risks associated with sustainable building and take proactive steps to minimize those risks. The best way to minimize risk is to understand your obligations under the contract.  Just a few questions to ask are:

  • What is your involvement in the certification process?
  • Do you have any responsibility to achieve a certain level of certification?
  • Are you responsible for appealing LEED certification denials relating to your work?
  • Does your insurance cover you for this work and the LEED certification? 
  • Is payment tied to LEED certification?

With an understanding of your obligations under a LEED project, you will be in a much better position to minimize and control your risk.