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Tobin Oruch, CDT
Senior Member
Username: oruch

Post Number: 45
Registered: 04-2003
Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 03:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Here's an interesting little paper on this topic from a sustainable design guru.

I think this issue was touched on in the specs category earlier but fits here.

First, Let's Kill All The Lawyers
By: Jerry Yudelson, PE, LEED AP - Thursday, May 17, 2007
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 584
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 03:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

this is terrific; its some of the same issues I used to raise with my office and was told that I was too sceptical.
George A. Everding, AIA, CSI, CCS, CCCA
Senior Member
Username: geverding

Post Number: 328
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 05:34 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Anne, are there any non-skeptical spec writers?

A pet peeve about the oft-used “first…kill the lawyers” quote: before getting too convinced that Shakespeare himself wanted to lynch litigators in Elizabethan London, it’s well to remember that the speaker of the lawyer line, the unsavory Dick the Butcher (his occupation as well as an apt descriptor of his character) was part of a mob planning to overthrow the government. Rather than an indictment of lawyers, the quote in context shows Shakespeare himself to be favorable to lawyers: if the lawyers are dead, who will stand in the way of the plotters? Who would prosecute them? And in fairness the Yudelson article ends up more consistent in tone to Shakespeare’s original positive meaning than most articles that use “lawyer killing” quote out of context…(ok, off the soapbox)

For those who are interested in further discussion about liability and LEED claims, this topic has been broached by Anne and others on this board at LEED limitation of liability and LEED AP vs CDT
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 588
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 - 08:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

George, I do know a few spec writers who have drunk the LEED Kool-Aid...
Posted on Saturday, July 14, 2007 - 04:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Coincidentally, we received last week a proposed disclaimer from our counsel to be used in our agreements with clients. To paraphrase the salient points:

1. LEED and similar environmental guidelines promote environmentally friendly and energy-efficient facilities.

2. As A/E, we use ordinary skill ("standard of care") to meet the LEED goals.

3. The Owner needs to recognize that many of the factors that ultimately result in LEED certification are out of our control. The Contractor and the Owner have a lot of responsibility over the results.

4. We don't "warrant or represent" that the Project will ulitmately be certified.

5. We'll use ordinary care consistent with typical practice to design a LEED facility, but we are not responsible for the Contractor's failure to build or the Owner's failure operate the facility appropriately for certification.

6. There are also differences in interpretation of standards that we aren't responsible for.

It sounds like our corporate legal thinking is consistent with much of the dialog occuring here and elsewhere about this topic.
Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
New member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 1
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 - 09:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Certainly, it is advisable to protect your firm against any potential liability and to respond to RFPs accordingly. The Owners I've worked with understand the parameters within which sustainable goals can be presented, and I've not heard of any lawsuits against a firm for not achieving certification (yes, of course it could happen). Any Owner misgivings about sustainability can typically be worked through during the sustainable design charrettes and subsequent sustainable issues meetings. Its all about creating a team.

For those of you who may be working with Owners to develop proposal requests, this AIA COTE guideline for sustainable RFPs that was developed a few years ago may be of value:

Chris Grimm, CSI, CCS, MAI, RLA
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 89
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 10:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

There are actual cases, according to a Schinnerer presentation at the AIA convention. See page 8-14 (page 9-15 of the pdf) in the presentation at http://www.aia.org/SiteObjects/files/conted_TH0507.pdf
Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Junior Member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 2
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 11:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Thanks for the link. Interesting reading. Schinnerer takes something of an alarmist view towards green, in my opinion. Of course, liability is their game so its understandable that they are out of their comfort zone with green/BIM/new. If you strip out the 'sustainable' component in their examples, it comes down to:
1. Don't over promise.
2. Understand your Client.
3. Research new materials and systems thoroughly.
4. Use intelligent design strategies.
5. Pay attention.
Good advice when doing any project.

On the flip side from Schinnerer, Fireman's Fund and other insurance companies are taking the view that green building have more value than non-green buildings:


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