Expert Advice on Green Buildings

LEED Consultant: Where Can We Find Standard Contracts?

 
Question:

Pras asks: We have recently been asked to provide LEED CI (now ID+C) services for a client. We were looking to find out how to write up a contract and scope of work. In doing some preliminary research, we realized that there is no standard contract out there and were wondering how to allocate, time / hours and resources for the design and documentation specifically required by LEED.

Answer:

Pras, I’ll say first off that I’ve never myself written any LEED contract language so most of this response is garnished from some resources I’ve found online that will hopefully help your firm work towards a solution.

Contracts when they relate to LEED are especially tricky because you ultimately aren’t in control of the certification process, that power remains with the Green Building Certification Institute. And without an exact understanding of the credits and their requirements, it can sometimes be hard to incorporate all necessary attributes into the construction documents.

That being said, some credits are impossible to ‘go back later’ and get after the project is built without spending extra money – and if those items weren’t covered in drawings or specs, who’s responsible for paying? In addition, maybe the documentation requirements for a particular credit were interpreted differently by the design team than the project GBCI reviewer and that credit is denied and the team wants to appeal… who’s responsible for paying for the appeal fee?

All of these items must be addressed up-front with the owner. If the design team is less familiar with all the possible scenarios that may arise during certification, this is where the services of a LEED Consultant become valuable. A LEED Consultant can help the owner and Architect draft a contract addressing all possible angles as far as design and construction team responsibilities. The worse case scenario of a project not meeting its projected certification level could impact funding, tax credits, or other incentive programs.

Some have suggested the possibility of tying fee payment to the performance of specific services during the design and construction process (the general contractor fails to submit the plumbing fixture cut-sheets required for WEc3 (Water Efficiency Credit 3) and is withheld payment under contract restrictions). Others arrange an agreement to pay literally by the performance of the building (if the project receives additional credits over those projected for EAc1 (Energy and Atmosphere Credit 1), the design team is paid a bonus.)

This B Series Owner/Architect Agreement might be of use to you as well:

B214™–2007, Standard Form of Architect’s Services: LEED® Certification. “AIA Document B214–2007 establishes duties and responsibilities when the owner seeks certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®). Among other things, the architect’s services include conducting a pre-design workshop where the LEED rating system will be reviewed and LEED points will be targeted, preparing a LEED certification plan, monitoring the LEED certification process, providing LEED specifications for inclusion in the contract documents and preparing a LEED certification report detailing the LEED rating the project achieved. B214–2007 may be used in two ways: (1) incorporated into the owner/architect agreement as the architect’s sole scope of services or in conjunction with other scope of services documents, or (2) attached to AIA Document G802™–2007, Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement, to create a modification to an existing owner/architect agreement. B214–2007 is a scope of services document only and may not be used as a stand-alone owner/architect agreement. B214–2007 was revised in 2007 to align, as applicable, with B101™–2007.”