Defining the green project There are four main steps to suc- cessfully managing legal issues that often arise in sustainable projects. The first step is establishing a clear understanding among all project participants of the owner’s green project goals and how they will be obtained.These may include energy and water consumption reduction, LEED® certification, tax credits, marketing purposes, or “greening” required by law. Understanding how specific goals will affect design professionals, general contractors, or specific trade contractors is criti- cal to contractually defining a green project. But perhaps even more important is first asking: Are the goals attainable? The answer to that question is a key component to defining the project scope. Next, defining the scope requires identifying and taking inventory of the details in four areas: design, materials, construction, and com- missioning. The parties in each area should ensure that project partici- pants (whether the design profes- sional or the sub-trade) clearly under- stand their role and responsibility to meet green objectives. This includes implementing best practices such as contractually assigning risks based on who best can manage those risks. For example, one could allocate responsibility for third party certi- fication submission to the owner’s agent, or, rather than guaranteeing a certification level, agreeing to use best efforts in designing or building towards a certification requirement. The third step is equally important: Getting buy-in from the owner – and all project participants – early and often as to the project’s sustainable objectives and how they will be achieved. Managing green risk Liability concerns arise with inex- perienced teams, heightened stan- dard of care, unachievable war- ranties, product failures, delays, insurance/bonding concerns, and handling of claims. The fourth step revolves around how well these risks are managed in green projects. To avert the problems with inexpe- rienced green construction teams, parties can assist owners in verify- ing credentials of all project par- Green Risks and Rewards: Managing Legal Issues on Sustainable Projects By Daniel Dorfman, Chair, Construction Law Group, Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll LLP BUSINESS FEATURE ––––––––––––––––– 62 TileLetter | August 2018