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; and
(3) A LEED certification challenge can be brought at any time.
Today we are looking at the second point, "any and all LEED points can be challenged." Here is the relevant language from the policy:
"GBCI may revoke previously granted LEED certification or take other action regarding LEED certification such as determine to reduce points or category of LEED certification previously granted, if GBCI determines that credits/prerequisites for LEED certification were granted based on erroneous determinations or inaccurately or falsely submitted documentation."
Obviously, the opportunities to challenge LEED certification are only limited by the LEED prerequisites and credits obtained on a specific project. In theory, a person could challenge every single prerequisite and credit applicable to a project.
If you are an architect, engineer, contractor, subcontractor, consultant or any other party that takes part in projects seeking LEED certification, you should be concerned by the additional liability created under the challenge policy. Under the policy, one LEED point that you were not involved with could be challenged and result in LEED certification being revoked or stripped. If you are responsible for a building’s LEED certification, you could find yourself defending a challenge to every single point and prerequisite, whether those points were your responsibility or not.
On Monday, we are going to look at a hypothetical (with video!) of how this liability could arise.