Last week, I gave a presentation on green building law to legal counsel for D.C metropolitan jurisdictions. One of the things that I said, and have repeated to other groups, is that green schools will be a hotbed for initial LEEDigation (see slide 25).
The one-year delay in the opening of a new elementary school in Upper Marlboro was largely caused by school system planners’ struggles to meet state-imposed environmental standards that were established last year, a school development officer said. The Prince George’s County Public Schools’ Capital Improvement Program office submitted a final building permit for approval later than expected because designers had to incorporate changes in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, said CIP officer Rupert McCave. "It changes over the year because everyone is still growing and learning the new requirements," McCave said. "You can talk to any school district in Maryland and they’ll tell you it’s a learning curve."
Why does a one year delay to construction matter? A one year delay results in increased design and construction costs. Design and construction firms want to be compensated for the delay. Owners, in this case a school district, blame the designer and/or contractor for the delay.
"Economically, [the delay] concerns me," said Board of Education member Donna Hathaway Beck (At-large), who said she asked the school system’s chief operating officer, Lawrence Fryer, about the delay at a CIP meeting early in April. "We’re paying money now, but we’re not going to be using the building until next year."
The key to managing your green building risk is to understand the owner’s expectations of the green building. You don’t want the owner making comments like this:
"It’s just disappointing, and you remind them that this doesn’t happen again," she added.
Disappointed owners of green buildings result in LEEDigation. How are you managing green building expectations?
Photo: Dean Terry