Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law & Policy Clinic has released a report that outlines the potential legal risks and liabilities in green building and provides a blueprint for avoiding such pitfalls.
While there are potential environmental and financial benefits associated with green building, the study finds that there are significant legal liabilities that can create risks for builders, investors, insurers, architects, and others. Some examples are lawsuits for negligence and fraud, violation of consumer protection laws, and failure to meet certification standards resulting in loss of tax credits.
There are also a number of basic ways to minimize the legal risks associated with green building. Some of the recommendations include improving project management; paying attention to contract language so that it reflects expectations for certifications, tax credits and sustainability; and being mindful that any disclosures and marketing materials defining expectations and risks for a green construction project are aligned with reality.
"The legal risks of green building have been completely overlooked until now," says Robert Fox, managing partner of Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP, which sponsored the study. "With rising consumer demand for green buildings and federal, state and municipal governments beginning to require public buildings to meet green standards, now is the time for those involved with project construction and management to become familiar with the liabilities of green building, as well as the strategies to minimize them."
For green building to successfully become standard business practice, investors, developers, insurers, engineers, architects, and others must become familiar with the potential legal risks and liabilities, the report states.
The report is available at the link below.