A colleague just forwarded me the Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc.'s Guidelines for Improving Practice. This insurance company frequently provides educational services for its clients and others, and the "LEED Accredited Professional Program Changes Risk Profiles" article on page four made the following statement in no uncertain terms:
"Members of the upgraded LEED AP+ program now will face a higher standard of care for their services."
This is the first instance where I've seen the higher standard of care argument placed with no qualifiers such as 'maybe' or 'will soon face', which is particularly troubling considering it's coming from a company who could potential profit from such a statement being true. I'm not a lawyer, but I always understood that standard of care was determined by industry norms and generally worked out in court, not by declaration.
Mo' Money, Mo' Money, Mo' Money
It seems like by publishing such material, Schinnerer is providing evidence in a future case that a lawyer could point to, reinforcing their own statement and need for the insurance. Oh no... I just realized by the act of writing this blog post I may be feeding the vicious cycle. Please forgive me future APs in lawsuits!
Much less troubling and more useful is the article on page five that features sample contract language for "When Owner Wants the Design to Meet Specific Sustainability Criteria" that essentially says "Hey Mr. Owner, I'm going to design you a kick ass building, but it may require me to need to use new materials that may not have a long track record. We'll let you know about that if it happens, but if you run into trouble down the road it ain't our fault."
The second contract issue it helps you resolve is "When Owner Wants Third-Party Certification of Sustainability". That goes something like "Hey Mr. Owner, I hear you want LEED, but I'm not the only one involved in making that happen. We'll take care of it as we can, but you can't sue me for not getting that platinum plaque you asked for unless it's my fault alone."