Allocation of Risks and Responsibilities in Green and Sustainable Buildings

Rayan Assaad, Islam H. El-Adaway, Keegan Baxmeyer, Mikala Harman, Levi Job, Hannah Lashley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Green and sustainable initiatives are among the most noticeable practices in today's design and construction applications. While allocation of contractual obligations under traditional building projects is known to the associated stakeholders, constructing green and sustainable buildings adds new considerations that should be understood by the different project participants. No previous research work has attempted to provide in-depth analysis of how risks and responsibilities should be contractually allocated among the different project participants in green and sustainable buildings. As such, this paper addresses this critical knowledge gap using a research methodology that is based on the dual interrelated analysis of case studies and standard contract forms. On one hand, investigation of previous projects showed that the major areas of concern in relation to the contractual problems associated with green buildings include: governing terms and conditions, certification and documentation, sustainability considerations and requirements, and materials and specifications. On the other hand, critical examination of existing standard forms of contract (i.e., ConsensusDocs 310-2011: Green Building Addendum, and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) E204-2017: Sustainable Projects Exhibit) indicate that: (1) while ConsensusDocs creates a new role within green and sustainable buildings known as "green building facilitator"(GBF) who is assigned most risks and responsibilities, AIA indicates that the architect is the project party who possesses these key roles during the design and construction phases; (2) each project party shall be responsible for its own roles in achieving and maintaining the green and sustainable aspects; (3) careful front-end and early planning of the different green and sustainable aspects is crucial to achieve the targeted and elected green and sustainable goals; and (4) collaboration between the different parties is highly crucial in attaining the building's green and sustainable objectives. Consequently, the paper offers contractual synopsis of the risks and responsibilities that are unique to green and sustainable buildings, the proper action that should be allocated for each risk and/or responsibility, and the project participant that is best positioned to bear such risk and/or responsibility. Further, the paper presents contractual recommendations, in the form of checklist questions, to provide profound understanding of the general principles and provisions associated with green and sustainable buildings. Ultimately, this study adds to the body of knowledge by honing and strengthening the education and awareness of the different project parties in relation to the contractual aspects of green and sustainable buildings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021002
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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