Liability on green buildings an uncertain prospect

January 24, 2012 |
Dwight Perkins

When a building designed to meet LEED standards fails to perform as expected or does not qualify for LEED certification, finding who is at fault and what remedies are available to the owner is a legal gray area. While owners and contractors understand the certification process for new green construction much better than they did a few years ago, there is still ambiguity.

With certain aspects of green building—like implementing innovations, selecting green products, retrofitting existing buildings and overall energy performance—uncertainty remains, and liability continues to be a difficult issue. Negligence occurs when the standard of care is not met, or when the professional’s performance falls below what a standard architect or engineer would do.

But with green design, the standard of care is a moving target. As a result, more contracts today contain language that holds parties accountable for following, say, LEED-compliant practices, without making them liable for factors beyond their control.


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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