Green roofs, green building standards could lead to liability issues, says report

March 20, 2012 |
Dwight Perkins

Green building standards carry risks and potential liabilities that could lead to lawsuits, according to a British Columbia Construction Association report. The BCCA says it is very supportive of sustainable construction, but that it’s essential for those who embrace new concepts to investigate the broader implications.

The research paper, entitled A Study on the Risks and Liabilities of Green Building, looks at issues starting to emerge in the U.S. as a result of green building practices and requirements.

One area of concern is green roofs. “The widespread use of green roofs may give rise to class action lawsuits reminiscent of British Columbia’s leaky condo crisis due to the complexity and need for proper maintenance of these roofing systems,” a BCCA official says.

The report says: “the use of novel, less harmful building material or new construction techniques may give rise to liability due to: contractor inexperience with installation; lack of long-term evaluation of green materials; lack of understanding of how new building materials may impact existing traditional building systems; or warranties provided unintentionally about the durability or effectiveness of unproven materials or techniques.” Contractors should be insured, and a coordinated plan involving all participants is critical, the report adds.

One green building consultant summed up the situation: “There are risks and liabilities associated with any type of new technology.”


NOTE:This information is the opinion of the author/blogger and not the official position of IAPMO.

Dwight Perkins | Codes and Standards

Dwight Perkins is the Senior Director of Field Operations for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and orchestrates the code adoption efforts of 11 other IAPMO Field Service regions as well as directly working with the state code agencies in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Oregon. Mr. Perkins has more than 35 years experience in the plumbing industry starting as an Apprentice in Alaska moving through the ranks to become a Journeyman Plumber and Business Manager of with UA Local 262. Prior to joining IAPMO, Perkins served in the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly while worked as Deputy Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. He is extremely familiar with the demands jurisdictions face on a daily basis and he is particularly well suited to address those needs. Mr. Perkins may be contacted at IAPMO at 503-982-1193 or email

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