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King: Architects could be sued for poor performing green buildings

UK Green Building Council chief Paul King has warned that in the future, architects could be held responsible for eco-friendly buildings which fail to perform

Speaking this morning (29 June) at an AJ100 Breakfast Club meeting in London, King suggested that under increased regulation post-occupancy proof of a building’s poor performance could expose the profession to negligence claims.

He said: ‘Could we be looking into a future of architects and clients being held responsible for poor performing buildings? Could architects be the subject of professional negligence claims or be sued?’

In his speech, King also asked his audience to ‘avoid bolt-on solutions’ and ‘eco-bling’ and to embrace the up-skilling needed to deliver low carbon buildings.

He said: ‘If we rethink it, redesign it, we are going to have to prove we’ve made it better. There is a great role for architects here. It will require more rigour, more science. It is going to require continued up skilling of the profession.’

King went on to emphasise the need for architects to embrace post-occupancy evaluation and suggested practices could change the way they weigh their fees, perhaps charging higher fees later in the project.

He added: ‘This isn’t rocket science. Sustainability demands a level of innovation and integration across the building life cycle and architects have an important role to play for it.’

He also said architects must speak to people outside the profession achieve greater integration across the industry.

‘You need to talk to people other than architects,’ he said. ‘Many of the answers [to sustainability questions] seem to lie in conversations with people across the supply chain.’

King also warned the construction industry risked a ‘groundhog day’ scenario if it fails to face up to the green agenda.

He said: ‘The roots of what we are now talking about in sustainability are in the 1998 Latham and Egan reports.

‘So it was interesting when we heard Paul Morrell echo the same sentiments when he published the Low Carbon Construction IGT last December and saying this industry does not have plans for its future.’

King’s remarks come as the deadline for the AJ’s 3R Awards – standing for Refurb, Rethink, Retrofit – approaches. The final deadline for submissions is 8 July.


For more information visit the 3R Awards website


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