The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) have announced the release of revised agreements that are available on LEED Online. The agreements were revised to provide an enhanced level of legal guidance for organizations that pursue LEED certification.

The USGBC and GBCI sought the opinion of legal counsel from architectural member firms, the U.S. General Services Administration, and others who practice construction law, many of whom are part of an informal USGBC legal working group. Revised language has been incorporated into the Terms and Conditions for the Use of LEED Online Version 3, the LEED Project Registration Agreement, and the LEED Project Certification Agreement.

Additionally, an agency form has been created to show agency relationships between design-team members and project owners. The form allows a project owner to appoint a design professional to sign agreements only as the owner's representative, relieving the design professional and his or her firm from obligations undertaken by the owner under the agreements. Use of this form removes certain obligations from the project team, such as reporting requirements associated with LEED Minimum Performance Requirement 6, and assigns them to the owners.

Other changes include streamlining the documents in more approachable terminology, standardizing agreements across various LEED programs and rating systems, providing more transparency in how these agreements are revised over time, further limiting and better describing how project information may be disclosed by the GBCI and USGBC, and providing clearer guidance regarding how revisions to the rating systems and policy documents will affect projects.

The USGBC and GBCI are posting frequently asked questions to provide further details on the new agreements. The agreements contain terms and conditions that are legally binding on all parties, including the USGBC and GBCI. As with any legal agreement, users are advised to read terms thoroughly and consult a lawyer as needed to review the protections and obligations they present.

Questions can be directed to the GBCI via the Project Certification & Registration contact form.