Kevin Garrison

Although licensed home builders in Alabama are not required to maintain liability insurance, a new law requires them to disclose whether or not they have such insurance prior to the commencement of construction. The insurance disclosure must be signed by the home builder and the homeowner, as well as a witness selected by the homeowner. This will require home builders to modify their normal practice of engaging with homeowners for new work. Home builders may wish to build the insurance disclosure into their written contract for construction, as long as there is also a place for the homeowner’s witness to also sign. This new law is codified at Alabama Code Section 34-14A-19, and went into effect on June 1, 2018.  Failure to comply may lead to sanctions by the Home Builders Licensure Board.

The Alabama Homebuilders Association of Alabama, Inc. (the Homebuilders) has sued the Alabama State Board for Registration of Architects (the Board) seeking to invalidate a regulation that requires an architect for the design of townhouses. Alabama’s code exempts from the practice of architecture the making of plans and specifications for the construction of “single-family residence buildings.” The Board’s regulations state that an architect is not required for design of a “detached single-family residence.” (more…)

A New Jersey court recently reversed a variance issued by a zoning board to a building designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.  The owner of the planned office building sought and obtained site plan approval and a height variance from the zoning board.  Among other things, the zoning board found that the landscaping plan “conserves natural resources and prevents degradation of the environment,” that the site plan fulfilled planning goals of reducing impervious coverage, and that achieving the LEED Gold standard for energy use, recycling and waste disposal “promotes the [land use law’s] purpose of promoting utilization of renewable energy resources.” (more…)

The lack of LEED experience cost an incumbent service contractor the ability to protest the award of a federal contract to its rival, according to an opinion released on April 22, 2014 by the United States Court of Federal Claims.  In Hughes Group, LLC v. United States, 2014 WL 1604330 (Fed. Cl. 2014), the incumbent contractor for janitorial and landscape services filed a bid protest over the government’s award of a contract to another service contractor.  Id.  The basis of the protest was the allegation that the government impermissibly engaged in discussions with the successful bidder that allowed it to make beneficial changes to its proposal.  Id. (more…)

The LEED rating system for green buildings made a brief cameo in a recent reported opinion arising out of a construction dispute in North Carolina. The recently decided case John Wm. Brown Co. v. State Employees’ Credit Union, 752 S.E.2d 185 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013) only indirectly involved LEED, it does illustrate one of the ways in which LEED disputes may arise in a construction project. (more…)