Green roofs may be pretty but they are a plaintiff construction lawyer’s dream come true. Many of them leak or contribute to indoor air quality issues and the growth of mold, which then leads to the need of hiring a Mold Testing in Los Angeles company. Commercial insurers- including Zurich- are taking note, and advising their insureds to make sure that their green roofs are being properly maintained and were installed as required in the first place. Over at gbNYC, we pointed out an article in Property Week magazine that quoted a Zurich consultant noting these concerns. Part of the solution, as always, is to consider a comprehensive risk management program in advance of a green project designed to mitigate non-traditional sources of risk unanticipated by the project team.
Mr. Blackie recommends that green roofs include means for irrigation and that insurers assist their policyholders during the green roof design phase. Blackie also cautioned that Zurich was not implying that buildings with green roofs would not be insured, only that insurers should be consulted prior to construction in order to ensure that a proper maintenance schedule is established and overall risk assessment program executed.
Property Week also cites a 2006 report authored by Mr. Blackie in which he noted that “[t]his concept of construction is often sold on its environmental benefits. The issue of fire spread, combustibility and indeed fire safety are often overlooked.” Interestingly, the co-founder of livingroofs.org, Dusty Gedge, noted in the same piece that the 35 million square meters of green roofs in Germany actually garner their owners a reduction in fire insurance. Still, this is exactly the type of hidden risk that the green building industry is only now beginning to acknowledge and address, and demonstrates the necessity for the vigilance by which stakeholders must guide themselves in connection with green projects.