The inevitable is about to happen: high-performance building objectives are emerging as the new normal across the country.
For some design and construction firms, this will mean business as usual. For others, however, the change will be cataclysmic, resulting in a much higher risk of mold and moisture-related building failures.
While high performance standards may not be fully adopted by all model building codes or jurisdictions, they will become the de facto standard of care. On the surface, this certainly has many redeeming aspects, such as mandating better-performing, more energy-efficient buildings. But it begs the question: will buildings actually get better or will lawyers get richer?
Here's the downside:
- Lack of experience will Increase design and construction deficiencies. Designers and contractors will be forced to implement building features they don't fully understand, creating a dilemma in the industry: either represent yourself as technically savvy or face certain extinction.
- Standard of care will be elevated. As these new objectives automatically raise the required standard of care for the industry, they will increase the risk profile of projects and may (at least initially) trigger exclusion clauses in current insurance policies.
While high performance objectives can induce certain standards, they cannot mandate correct implementation, inevitably resulting in increased design and construction deficiencies and lawsuits.
The only way to reduce risk is to implement a robust risk management plan for your project. LBFG is now offering a webinar that discusses practical steps to accomplish this goal. Here are some of their recommendations:
- Fill in the gaps between high performance objectives and standards with a third-party design and construction peer review. Keep the firm involved throughout the first year of occupancy.
- Move the responsibility of meeting high performance criteria for products used on a project (including field certifications) to the actual manufacturer of each product.
- Learn which elements may compete with good practices for mold and moisture control in your building's location and climate. For example, what energy efficiency objectives will compete with requirements for good dehumidification?
LBFG has provided problem avoidance and after-problem solutions to owners and contractors for buildings under construction by developers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. Please visit http://www.buildingforensicsgroup.com/who-we-are/ for more information on the firm and webinar speakers.