Article Date: 02/22/2013

Experts Warn of the Risks of Building Green

By Steve Rizer


Because there has been a reliance on rating systems, “we [as an industry] haven’t always incorporated the best practices in the key areas that make for good building performance,” George DuBose, vice president of Building Consulting Services with Liberty Building Forensics Group in Orlando, Fla., told various professionals attending a webinar that WPL Publishing held earlier this month. Among such key areas are indoor air quality, humidity control, and waterproofing, he said.


“We haven’t always incorporated those best practices because [of] the prescriptive nature of rating systems, and as those rating systems have influenced standards and influenced codes, we’ve seen that risk flow through all the way up into codes,” DuBose said. In addressing a target audience of engineers, architects, owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, and construction law attorneys, he asserted that “building green is a noble goal, but it is a risky endeavor.”


Some risks are “fairly obvious,” DuBose said. Some risks, however, “are more obscure and less obvious.” There are technical risks, legal and contractual risks, insurance risks, and “all kinds of project risks.” His webinar presentation, entitled “New Green Code: Examining the Unintended Risks,” focused on the technical risks.


“Some of the building failures, like any kind of building failure, can range from acute and catastrophic to perhaps more chronic performance failures like, for example, not meeting the energy-performance characteristics of a building,” according to DuBose, a general contractor and building forensics expert.


DuBose and Chuck Allen, a forensic architect who specializes in diagnosing building envelope and building moisture problems for Liberty, also discussed building envelope complexity, three factors in green code risks, innovative green products, the migration of green products over time, new bio-based insulation, unintended air flows due to flush out, and other topics.


A recording of the webinar can be purchased via the following link:



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