Are Green Building RFPs More Important Than Contracts?

Are Green Building RFPs More Important Than Contracts?

Recently, Bob Kobet and I took our shiny new green building presentation for a test ride. Entitled "LEED Orientation Lite," we focused on cost and risk management during the design and construction of a LEED project. 

While preparing our presentation, Bob kept driving home one singular point to me: The Request for Proposal (RFP) process is key to managing a successful LEED project. 

The RFP process? 

As an attorney, I tend to think the contract is the key element to a successful construction project. Upon further review, I am convinced Bob is on to something. To successfully manage a LEED project, the owner needs to ensure a clear RFP is drafted. A clear RFP addresses many of the problems that lead to LEEDigation:

1.  If an owner drafts a clear RFP, the owner and contractor should have a clear understanding of the owner's green building expectations. Reasonable expectations understood by all the parties makes it more likely that a project will ultimately be successful. 

2.  If an owner drafts a clear RFP, the owner will get more responsive proposals and the owner can more effectively evaluate the merits of each proposal. 

3.  If an owner drafts a clear RFP, the parties can more effectively draft and negotiate a contract outlining the expectations as first discussed in the RFP. 

After our presentation last week, numerous owners confirmed that the RFP process was key to a successful LEED project and that many owners can do a better job on this end. Bob and I are looking forward to working with owners to improve green building RFPs. I just might be preventing some of the LEEDigation I have so long predicted. 

How do you ensure a successful green building RFP?

The original version of this post appeared on the Green Building Law Update and is reprinted with permission.

Image by Flickr user NobMouse.