ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 137 - 12/09/2011

Most Surveyed Construction Professionals Believe They Are at Least Somewhat Prepared for Green Building Disputes

About two-thirds of construction professionals participating in a new Green Building Insider (GBI) survey believe they are either “somewhat prepared” or “fully prepared” for any legal disputes they may encounter over the next year that involve their companies’/organizations’ green building work. A balanced representation of nearly 200 construction professionals -- including architects, engineers, consultants, construction managers, owners, contractors, and others -- over the last week responded to the survey’s 15 questions about the risks of building green as well as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and accreditation. Construction Advisor Today members can access a summary of the survey results by clicking on the following link:

 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/sr.aspx?sm=toCDxZe12yHzbciPh_2bnLMZZMBdIfAfV_2bOhB3wXrfiKE_3d

 

One anonymous respondent who considers himself or herself “fully prepared” for a legal dispute involving the company or organization that he or she represents commented, “We only promote technologies that have the science to back them up ... which has demonstrated to us that most architects, engineers, and contractors either are too biased from the ‘snake oils’ of the past to even look at the facts or are simply unwilling/unable to learn anything new. Myopic self-interest on the part of many contractors is also presenting significant barriers.”

All but 13.7 percent of respondents indicated that they are “somewhat aware,” “very aware,” or “perfectly aware” of the potential risks that can afflict a green building/green construction project that their company/organization may undertake.

 

One respondent claiming to be “somewhat aware” of these risks stated, “It is only a risk when the construction manager is forced to cut costs on material and jeopardizes the LEED certification in the process of making a profit (or to lose less money).”

 

Select Comments to Open-Ended Questions

 

In addition to the summary results, here are select responses from the survey’s two open-ended questions -- question No. 12 and question No. 14:

 

Question No. 12 -- Which type of risk involving green building/green construction worries you the most?

 

“Unrealistic expectations of owners as to the ‘savings’ they should see for a green building since designers don’t seem to alert them to sometimes higher operating costs to maintain [indoor air quality] and elaborate systems used to garner LEED points.” -- Lee Holmes, a commissioning authority with Support Services of Alaska.

 

“Lack of knowledge industry-wide about the risk of non-disclosure, inaccurate representation, and transparency on construction, sale, and investment in LEED/green projects.” --Michele Skupic, national director of FNF Sustainable Strategies.

 

“Owners’ performance expectations exceeding the design capabilities.” -- Robert O’Brien, principal at Holt Architects.

“The building performing worse than modeled because of poor installation and commissioning.” -- Les Lazareck, an engineer at Home Energy Connection LLC.

 

“Contractors committing to specific credits and not delivering.” -- Alicia Phinney, construction services coordinator at Defence Construction Canada.

 

Question No. 14 -- In your opinion, what is the best way for public officials and/or the construction industry to maximize financial benefits and minimize potential risks of green building/green construction?

 

“Better knowledge of any tax benefits and payback charts for energy efficiencies. This will allow a better understanding of the upfront cost on investments.” -- Andre Chamberlain, project manager at The DeRosa Group.

 

“By practicing all of the aspects of green solutions more and more ... to identify the best uses of different materials.” -- Ar. Nazli Hussain, owner and chief architect at Praxis Architects.
“Continuous monitoring and management of the project.” --Edgar Almeida, technical leader at Cisco Systems.

 

“Have clear-cut codes and standards, publish them, and distribute [them] to the trade. Have one go-to website with information. It is up to design/construction professionals to educate/inform clients for projects.” -- DeAnna Radaj, owner of Bante Design LLC.

 

“Increase construction codes to a higher standard.” -- Michael Vargas, principal at Atlas Project Support.

 

GBI conducted the survey between Dec. 2 and Dec. 7, using various lists of constructional professionals from all across the construction community. For additional survey results, please call Construction Advisor Today Editor Steve Rizer at (301) 765-9525, ext. 7013. 

 

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