I am going to take a temporary hiatus today to jump from the Wisconsin LEED challenge to discuss breaking LEEDigation news.
LEEDigation is, of course, litigation involving LEED certification. I have previously discussed Shaw Development v. Southern Builders, which is an example of a project failing to achieve LEED certification. But how else could LEEDigation develop?
Could you imagine a scenario where an owner refuses to pay for additional costs necessary to achieve LEED certification? What if the owner was a famous NASCAR driver?
According to a group of subcontractors, this is what happened when NASCAR star Kyle Busch requested upgrades during construction so that his new headquarters would achieve LEED certification:
"Nearly a dozen companies involved in building a new race shop for Kyle Busch say they have filed liens or intend to file liens because they are collectively owed about $1 million for work done on a high-tech headquarters built for Busch in Mooresville.
The project’s general contractor, L.B. Builders Construction Group, owns the building and has been in mediation with Busch’s attorneys this week.
Busch was supposed to buy the building but has delayed the purchase because the final price tag was more than expected. The subcontractors say that’s because the young multimillionaire NASCAR driver wanted a top-of-the-line, LEED-certified building and ordered upgrades during construction."
At this point, the subcontractors have only filed liens and have not undertaken litigation to enforce the liens. The subcontractors involved include an electrical supplies distributor, a mechanical equipment vendor, and a glass and aluminum company.
When I discuss LEEDigation, it is most often in the context of failing to achieve certification. But the opposite scenario can certainly occur: you achieve certification but the owner refuses to pay for the costs associated with the green building components. If an owner decides in the middle of a project to seek LEED certification, it is imperative that the architect and contractor not only request contract modifications but also educate the owner about the additional costs that will be incurred as a result.
Photo Credit: Amplified Photography
Busch Dispute Centers On Green Construction (Charlotte Observer)