If you were to survey green building critics, it's safe to guess most will argue that the cost to build green do not outweigh the benefits. Indeed, many have suggested that the cost of building green (especially gaining LEED certification) is significantly higher than building to ordinary standards. Others argue that LEED certification can be achieved through an everyday budget. Regardless of where you fall on this issue, everyone should agree that green building projects have certain specifications, and bidding contractors must project the construction costs responsibly. And so, one of the most challenging components of a constructing a green building may be the process of bidding it. Since green building work is just starting to take hold in the construction industry, many contractors and subcontractors are working on little-to-no experience on green projects. And sometimes the data behind green building techniques and products are thin (see greenwashing). On Wolfe Law Group's Construction Law Monitor, we published a 2-part article on the Bidding Process and Change Orders: Bidding Errors and Change Orders: Avoiding a Nightmare [Part One and Part Two]. How do we suggest you avoid Bidding Error nightmares? Spend time with the Contract Documents pre-bid. With green building projects, this is more true than usual. When preparing your green bid, here are some example thoughts that should be considered:
- If the project is being certified with LEED or another standard, who will be responsible for the submittal process? Who will be responsible for monitoring the construction process?
- Contact vendors who will be providing the project's materials, and review the data they have to back-up their performance and environmental claims. It would be a pity to plan on using one product, and being forced to later use a more expensive substitute. See this article on how to shop for green building materials.
- If the builder is anticipating a tax credit, do you understand the requirements to qualify for the credit? Will this increase your construction costs?