Roles and Responsibilities of LEED

In any project, it is the responsibility of each member such as the owner, architect, engineer, contractor and end user who each have a responsibility in their project that will eventually receive LEED certification.  It is crucial that those who are involved in a LEED project understand their roles and responsibilities.  Recently, a project was reviewed by Thomas Taylor who was asked by a general contractor to review proposed contract language for a project which LEED certification was to be issued.

The 29 year old veteran of the construction industry, Thomas Taylor is the general manager of St. Louis-based Vertegy.  Guide to LEED 2009: Estimating and Preconstruction Strategies, his recent book  provides step-by-step information about the LEED 2009 for the New Construction process.

In reviewing a contract, he found that their was a lump sum general contract in which the contractor had no responsibility for the design of the project. The language related to LEED certification had led the reader to believe that the owner may not have been fully aware of which members of the delivery team were responsible for the various activities that are required in a LEED project.  The reason why they had thought this was because of the following statement:  Contractor shall have on staff LEED Accredited Professional who has experience in constructing LEED certified projects and shall, as requested by the owner, administer the LEED certification process using its best efforts to cooperate with architect and assist the owner to achieve the desired LEED certification for the project.

When seeing proposed contractual language such as the above, especially questions such as what is the owner’s definition of cooperation? or how much effort will it take to assist the owner in achieving the desired level of LEED certification? These questions can sometimes take a variety of different meanings. At the beginning of every project, there is usually an optimistic feeling from all the members of the team that everything regarding the project will work out as planned.  As the project moves from design to construction, budgets, value-engineering exercises are required and a lot of the times schedules are disrupted and everything from the planned project gets shifted. When faced with extreme stressors, the project can change completely.  A practical approach to avoid this is to alleviate potential problems that could arise with the use of vague terms such as cooperate and assist is to specify the exact activities required by the contractor or to provide and allowance of hours that may be extended to assist the owner with LEED- related tasks. Create a list of tasks and decide which member will take over each tasks and after allowing a certain amount of hours this will allow the member to complete the task without falling behind.  When the list is followed accordingly, this will allow your project to become successful. For more information on tips about this topic, visit: www.vertegyconsultants.com

For more info on LEED related topics, visit: www.norsteel.com

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