Archives: Surety

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Green Performance Bonds Necessary But Risky

Ever since I read the D.C. Green Building Act and its "performance bond" requirement, I have been morbidly interested in the idea of LEED bonds.  When Kristen Bradley, at, offered to write an article on the topic, I couldn’t help but say yes., a nationwide surety bond producer, works with a number of construction companies … Continue Reading

LEED Certification Challengers Speak Out

News continues to emerge about the challenge to the LEED Gold certification received by the Northland Pines High School.  Green Building Law Update previously reported on a statement made by United States Green Building Council (USGBC) General Counsel Susan Dorn that the certification challenge had been denied.   There is so much more to this … Continue Reading

Every Single LEED Point Can Be Challenged

On Wednesday, I began a review of the Green Building Certification Institute’s ("GBCI") LEED Certification Challenge policy.  There are three reasons why the LEED Certification Challenge Policy creates significant risk for all parties involved in a LEED-certified project: (1) Any person can challenge a building’s LEED certification; (2) Any and all LEED points can be challenged; … Continue Reading

Cranks, Gadflies and Rivals Can Challenge LEED Status

A few weeks ago, after a green building legal presentation, I remarked to a colleague that I was growing tired of discussing Shaw Development v. Southern Builders, the prime example of LEEDigation.  Less than one week later, along came the Wisconsin LEED challenge and the discovery of the LEED Certification Challenge Policy.   The LEED … Continue Reading

Insurers Still Unsure of Green Building Risks

One of my very first Green Building Law Update posts focused on the insurance and surety industries’ concerns related to green building.  Nearly two years later, some in the insurance industry are still expressing concerns regarding green building projects.  A recent P&C National Underwriter article highlighted numerous insurance-related concerns related to green buildings:  Vegetative roofing—using … Continue Reading

LEED Funding for Green School Causes Construction Delay

Last Thursday, during a webinar on green building legal issues, I stated the following: "I really believe schools will be a hotbed for green defect claims, in terms of energy efficiency, and other green building components.  Schools rely on tight budgets. . . .  Be careful what you are promising on these green school projects." … Continue Reading

Important Revision to the D.C. Green Building Act

In December 2009, an Amendment to the D.C. Green Building Act of 2006 was introduced by the D.C. Council.  Labeled the "Green Building Technical Corrections, Clarification, and Revision Amendment Act of 2009," this Amendment includes many revisions to the original Green Building Act.  One of those revisions involves the "performance bond" requirement: "’Sec. 6. Bond … Continue Reading

Contractors Need Green Building Contracts Too

We previously reviewed a green building contract that can be used to manage the architect-owner relationship. But what about contractors? As a member of the AGC ConsensusDOCS committee, I had the pleasure of collaborating on the ConsensusDOCS 310 Green Building Addendum, which was recently released: On Nov. 10, ConsensusDOCS released the construction industry’s first and … Continue Reading

A Recipe for Green Building Litigation

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects have resulted in extremely low bids.  These low bids could be the result of improved efficiency in the construction industry; or the low bids could be the result of cut throat competition.     Simultaneously, the ARRA includes $250 million to investigate (PDF) and audit ARRA projects.  These … Continue Reading

This Post is Really Important and Is Not for the Faint of Heart

Disclaimer:  If you are sensitive to or frightened by new risks and liabilities in the green building industry, please skip this post. On Monday, I highlighted the USGBC’s decision to create requirements to ensure a building’s performance matches modeled energy savings.  I finished the post by asking, what happens to projects that do not comply?  … Continue Reading

Stimulus Bids Pour In

According to a recent Washington Post article, “Construction firms are so eager for work in the sagging economy that project bids are coming in much lower than expected.” Great news, right?  Not necessarily.  Lower bids can be a good thing if they are the result of increased efficiency in the construction process.  But lower bids … Continue Reading

A Green Spearin Doctrine

Over the weekend, while writing a response to a Summary Judgment Motion, I was reminded of the most important legal principle in construction law.  Under the Spearin Doctrine: "If [a] contractor is bound to build according to plans and specifications prepared by the owner, the contractor will not be responsible for the consequences of defects … Continue Reading

DC’s Green Bond: The Worst Case Scenario

On Wednesday, we looked at the best case scenario that can result from the D.C. Green Building Act "performance bond" requirement.  We assumed that the green building "performance bond" was created.  The scenario was not pretty and involved extensive LEEDigation™ .  Today we look at the worst case scenario.    Imagine no new construction projects … Continue Reading

Green Bonds, Car Insurance Not the Same

If you have been paying attention to Green Building Law Update, you know D.C. has a bit of an issue regarding a green building "performance bond" currently required by law.  In short, green building "performance bonds" do not exist.  A few weeks ago, George Hawkins, Director of the District Department of the Environment, testified in … Continue Reading

Green Building Thoughts: The Stimulus, The Bond, LEED AP, and Rock Chalk

It may surprise you to learn that I have a real job.  Seriously, I do and I love it!  I am a construction litigator and I am currently involved in a major construction delay claim.  I have been preparing a motion the last few days, hence the late filing of today’s post.  There is a … Continue Reading

Hawkins: Green Building Performance Bond Requirement is Viable

Last week, I had the pleasure of testifying before the D.C. Council regarding green building policies in the district.  As mentioned in my post last week, the focus of my testimony was the Green Building Act’s "performance bond" requirement.  Before my testimony, I had the opportunity to hear George Hawkins, Director of the District Department … Continue Reading

Proposed Revisions to the D.C. Green Building Act Performance Bond

I am very excited for an event taking place today:  the Public Oversight Roundtable on Green Building Practices hosted by the Council of D.C. Committee on Government Operations and the Environment.  As you may recall, Green Building Law Update has repeatedly discussed the "performance bond" requirement of the D.C. Green Building Act .  As currently … Continue Reading

The Green Building Unicorn

I have been working with the D.C. City Council recently on revisions to the D.C. Green Building Act of 2007.  In particular, I have been looking for an enforcement mechanism that can be used to ensure compliance with LEED certification requirements for commercial buildings.  The problem is that the current Green Building Act requires a … Continue Reading

Thank You Mr. Fedrizzi

To start this post, I want to thank Rick Fedrizzi , CEO of the United States Green Building Council.  On February 12, I attended a breakfast hosted by Bisnow at which Mr. Fedrizzi was the guest speaker.  I really appreciated his speech – he did not ignore the current economic climate but talked about the opportunities that will emerge from the green … Continue Reading