Construction Contracts for Sustainable Projects

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The market continues to look for construction projects that are sustainable. Building developers, owners and tenants seek value from energy efficiency and a recognizable commitment to the environment. Rating systems, such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, have received widespread recognition.

The role of the contractor in achieving sustainable construction and energy use certification is important, but there are special risks for contractors involved in projects with specific sustainable goals. Achieving a particular standard or rating is a team effort and requires coordination among the owner, designer, contractors and material suppliers. There are a number of factors that contribute to success, many of which are beyond the control of the contractor. There are many decisions that are made by owners and designers, with or without the input of the contractor. Failure to achieve a certification standard can have unpleasant consequences, and a disappointed owner may be swift to seek remedies from the others involved in the project.