Last fall, Toronto’s industrial real estate sector successfully lobbied the City Council for an exception to the city’s Green Roof Bylaw, allowing new industrial properties and building additions to install cool roofing material instead of green roofs. Now, the institutional sector is pushing for the same exception.
The proposed design for a 3-story home in the Kingsway section of Toronto does not qualify for a variance based on the project’s proposed LEED certification.
A recent article in a Canadian construction industry publication argues that Canada’s green building experience has – to date – avoided legal repercussions arising out of green construction projects.
In a two-part series that was published last weekend, Diana Zlomislic of the Toronto Star reviews the green building landscape in Ontario and concludes that although “[s]hoddy building is not unique to the green sector . . . with governments aggressively promoting green construction and green building still an emerging practice, consumers who opt for more eco-friendly homes and renovations are more vulnerable.”
As an increasing number of Canadian governments are considering the merits of LEED-driven legislation, Canada’s contractors are speaking out about the increased costs and associated red tape on projects that pursue third-party green building certification.
Back in June, a Winnipeg developer unveiled 1735 Corydon Avenue, a 2-story, 12,800-square-foot office building which is the first in Canada’s Manitoba province to require all potential tenants to sign a green lease.
Recently, there have been a number of articles suggesting that the risks associated with green roofs have been overblown. Over the past few days, I’ve spent some time looking for more concrete examples of green roof-related risks in practice. I started by looking for case law where a plaintiff alleged an attractive nuisance claim against the owner of a building arising out of a green roof or other rooftop landscaping. Westlaw did not return any results entirely on point, but I did find a number of interesting attractive nuisance decisions which I may present in a subsequent post here at GRELJ. The much more practical research that I turned up was the following except from an article by Kelly Luckett, the self-proclaimed “Green Roof Guy” who writes a column for greenroofs.com. In a column from the very end of 2008, Mr. Luckett describes how uneducated project teams may unwittingly expose themselves to unanticipated risks stemming from the maintenance requirements of green roof installations. His remarks also reflect a number of key points we’ve made consistently both here at GRELJ and over at gbNYC with respect to the additional risk management strategies demanded by new green building technologies and third-party certification programs.
Notwithstanding many of the persistent- and still emerging- concerns over the increased risks from their installation, Toronto is on the verge of becoming the first city in North America to mandate green roofs for most types of new construction. By a vote of 36-2 which, according to the National Post, “was adopted after remarkably little debate on the floor of council,” the sweeping legislation requires green roofs on all residential buildings over 6 stories, schools, affordable housing developments, commercial, and industrial buildings.