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.